15 March 2013

Virtual tours and virtual art

(Friday files)
In the past if you wanted to see a particular work of art, you’d have to travel to the gallery where it was displayed. That meant having enough money and free time to travel. Gradually, as printing techniques improved, it became possible to see reproductions of works of art in books, but they were still relatively expensive.
Now you can go on a virtual tour of most of the world’s great art galleries – the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, or the Uffizi in Florence for instance. The Google Art Project has dozens more, including several Australian galleries.
But what isn’t apparent from looking at works of art in books or online (apart from their real size) is the variation in colour of the reproductions. Even the originals vary in apparent colour depending on the lighting used, but the reproductions can be quite different in hue to the originals and to each other.
In an interesting play on this, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg have created collages made up of tiles taken from multiple online versions of the same work of art. Some use multiple copies of one small fragment of a picture to create a new artwork, others reproduce the entire image. Here, for instance, is Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”. (This is just a thumbnail – click on the link or the picture itself to go to the HintFm website.) It’s well worth a look.
17-births-of-venus_tiny (1)

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