2009/08/28 3 Comments
Another Non-Musical Post
The Internet is just a wonderful, and powerful thing. Did you know that you can tour most of the great art galleries in the world right from your easy chair? Several of them include an option that lets you save your own personal collection of your favorites, so you can come back and view them any time you like without having to go through searches or numerous page views.
One of my favorites is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., partly because it has a huge collection of Rembrandts. The building is an architectural stunner and the art is wonderfully displayed. The collection also includes a very small work by Leonardo da Vinci, painted on a block of wood and painted on both front and rear. It is displayed, out on the floor in a special case that gives a 360-degree view as you can walk behind the painting. The scene on the rear is exactly what a viewer would have seen in real life if standing behind the subject. Incredible! What a mind that guy had.
The Tate Gallery, in London offers a virtual map of the gallery. As you mouse-over the various rooms you get a note of the period or artists displayed within. Click on the room and you can see the works within and can save them to your virtual collection. It is a great way to plan your visit and make sure you don’t miss a favorite while there.
The Guggenheim site lets you tour the collections in New York City, Venice, Berlin and the new Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Once your are in your chosen collection, click on any piece and a wealth of information pops up. It is a new, and very enlightening, way to experience these great works. Very educational!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City has a terrific site with all sorts of capabilities. There is database feature that lets you set your search criteria and then look through all the works that meet those data-points. They also have what are, in effect, virtual lectures, organized around interesting topics like “Art of the First Cities,” or “How van Gogh Made His Mark.” You can save a personal collection of art from The Met, too.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City has one of the coolest of all the sites. The collection is displayed, onscreen, as artwork only. No text. Mouse-over an artwork and the Name, Artist and Date pop up. Again, you can save your own personal art gallery to revisit.
My favorite gallery of all, at least for a live visit, is The Frick Collection in New York City. Not only is it a stunning collection of art, but it is presented in the actual Frick Mansion on 5th Avenue, just across the street from Central Park. You get to see the art just as old Henry Clay Frick, one of America’s industrial giants, enjoyed it as he walked around his splendid home. Major rooms have a virtual tour video that lets you scan 360 degrees, zoom in and out and see the room and its art almost as if you were walking around inside. On my visit there, I delighted browsing his personal library, with works like J. H. Jesse’s English Histories, History of the U.S., and Book of Wealth by George Bancroft.
My advice is to spend a little time with these great resources. The links are scatttered throughout this post, but here is a recap to make it easy for you: