The heart of Art Authority for iPad is its 70,000-work, nine-room virtual museum. “Patrons” of the museum have been known to literally spend days “wandering” through the app’s professionally designed period-specific rooms. While they’ve been doing so, we’ve  also been hard at work on improvements to those rooms (unlike a real museum, we don’t ever have to close in the process). And we’re now excited to be announcing and rolling our big museum upgrade..

The 2014 Art Authority for iPad museum upgrade is both functional and aesthetic. The first thing you might notice is that in each period room there is a new directory, replacing the previous artist list. This directory is similar to the one that has always been located in the lobby. Like that directory, it lets you browse and search by artist, title, subject, or location.

BaroqueRoom

The lobby directory has always been for the museum as a whole. Each of the new room directories lets you browse and search just within that room. So if you’re in the Renaissance room for example, you can view all Renaissance works that come from the Louvre. Or you can search in the Baroque room for all works entitled  “Last Supper.”

LastSupper

Not only do the rooms work better, but they look better too. We’ve upgraded the wallpaper and added new adornments to many of the rooms. Under iOS 7, we’ve also added subtle but cool 3-D motion effects.

Renaissance

The combination of all these enhancements makes for an even more immersive art exploration experience. Check them all out in Art Authority for iPad 4.9.2, available today through the App Store.

2013 was a great year for Art Authority and Art Authority users. We added a large number of works to the “collection,” as well as a large number of features to the app. So many, in fact, that Apple named Art Authority for iPad as one of the Best New Apps of the year:

BestNew

And that despite the app being three-and-a-half years old, having shipped at the same time as the first iPad, April 3, 2010!

Here’s a quick summary of the major goings-on from 2013:

Not bad for a new app :) So here’s to 2013, and to what we have to look forward to in 2014 as well!

 

Art Authority for iPad now includes access to Internet-based videos for over 500 of its major works. Wrapping up a year’s worth of new features, Art Authority for iPad 4.9.1 provides the ability to view short, information-packed videos about the works, their environment, historic context and more. Many of the videos are produced by the museums in which the actual works hang, as well as by Khan Academy and other educational institutions.

Works with available videos display a new video button in their information plaque. Tapping that button downloads and brings  the video up full-screen. Internet access and at least iOS 6 are required to view the videos.

Videos1

The main directory also includes an option to view a show that includes all works from the Art Authority database that have an associated video. And each room’s Overview section includes a similar show for works in that room’s period. So if you want to browse all the videos associated with works from the Renaissance, it’s really easy to do (there are currently over 160 such videos).

Videos2

Videos are also available in Art Authority K-12 for iPad, for age-appropriate works.

 

 

Since 1962, the US Postal Service has issued one or more Christmas stamps each year. Many of these stamps have been based on classic works of art, usually from the Renaissance period. And of course many of those works of art are in Art Authority.  It’s particularly interesting to see how the Postal Service has “adapted” the works to the stamps. Merry Christmas!

1966 stamp: Madonna and Child with Angels, by Hans Memling, after 1479

1966stamp madonnachildMemling

 

1967 stamp: Madonna and Child with Angels, by Hans Memling, after 1479

1967stamp madonnachildMemling

 

1968 stamp: The Annunciation, by Jan van Eyck, 1435

1968stamp annuciationVanEyck

 

1970 stamp: Nativity, by Lorenzo Lotto, 1523

1970stamp NativityLotto

 

1971 stamp: Adoration of the Shepherds, by Giorgione, 1505-1510

1971stamp shepherdGiorgione

 

1973 stamp: Small Cowper Madonna, by Raphael, 1504-1505

1973stamp MadonnaRaphael

 

1975 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1475

1975stamp MadonnaChildGHIRLANDAIO

 

1976 stamp: Nativity, by John Singleton Copley, 1776

1976stamp NativityCopley

 

1979 stamp: The Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Gerard David, 1510

1979stamp Davidrest

 

1981 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Sandro Botticelli, 1475-1485

1981stamp VirginChildBotticelli

 

1982 stamp: Madonna of the Goldfinch, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1767-1770

1982stamp MadonnaGoldfinch

 

1983 stamp: Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, by Raphael, 1508

1983stamp MadonnaLargeRaphael

 

1985 stamp: Genoa Madonna, by Luca Della Robbia, 1445-1450

1985stamp GenoaMadonna

 

1986 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Perugino, 1501

1986stamp madonnachildPerugino

 

1987 stamp: A Gentleman in Adoration before the Madonna, by Giovanni Battista Moroni, 1560

1987stamp Gentleman

 

1988 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Sandro Botticelli, 1470

1988stamp MadonnaChildBotticelli

 

1989 stamp: The Dream of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, by Lodovico Carracci, 1593

1989stamp dream1

 

1990 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Antonello da Messina, 1475

1990stamp MadonnaChildMessina

 

1993 stamp: Madonna and Child in a Landscape, by Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, 1496-1499

1993stamp MadonnaChildLandscape

 

1995 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Giotto di Bondone, 1320-1330

1995stamp MadonnaChildGiotto

 

1997 stamp: Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels, by Sano di Pietro, 1460-1470

1997stamp MadonnaChildSano

 

1999 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Bartolomeo Vivarini, 1475

1999stamp MadonnaChildVIVARINI

 

2002 and 2003 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Jan Gossaert, 1520

2002stamp MadonnaChildAIC

 

2004 stamp: Madonna and Child, by Lorenzo Monaco, 1413

2004stamp MadonnaChildMonaco

 

2007 stamp: The Madonna of the Carnation, by Bernardino Luini, 1515

2007stamp MadonnaCarnation

 

2008 stamp: Virgin and Child with the Young John the Baptist, by Sandro Botticelli, 1490

2008stamp YoungStJohn

 

2009 stamp: Christmas: Madonna and Sleeping Child by Sassoferrato

2009stamp sleep

 

2011 stamp: Madonna of the Candelabra by Raphael, 1513

2011stamp Candelabra

 

2013 stamp: Virgin and Child, by Jan Gossaert, 1531

2013stamp VirginChildLandscapeCleveland

 

 

Art Authority for iPad 4.9 is now available through the App Store, with enhancements for iOS 7. These subtle but significant improvements have earned it selection as a Best New App on the App Store this week.

Most of the changes are in look-and-feel, such as addition of iOS 7′s transparent status bar at the top of windows, making each room a bit more spacious. A number of the user interface elements, such as the popovers, also have a more iOS 7 style to them. In particular the main and other directories.

MainDirectory

The most noticeable and functional enhancement to Art Authority for iPad is AirDrop support under iOS 7. AirDrop lets you easily share images from Art Authority with your closest friends, where in this case “close” refers to the distance to their iOS 7 device, and “friends” can mean anyone who’s nearby, or anyone nearby and in your contacts list. One nice thing is that your friends don’t even have to be running Art Authority; the image ends up going to their Photos app. And you can share with multiple friends at the same time.

To share images through Art Authority for iPad 4.9 (on any iOS), view the image full-screen and then tap the new Sharing button (which has replaced the gear button at the bottom left). The standard iOS “sharing” popover comes up (on iOS 6 or later), and includes previous ways of sharing the image: through the Photos app, Twitter and Facebook. But new ways are there as well, including AirDrop if your iPad is AirDrop-capable. Even if your device doesn’t support AirDrop, you still get new ways of sharing, such as Mail, Copy and even Print.

MonaLisaAirDrop

AirDrop is part of what has been a continuing evolution of sharing support in iOS, and in Art Authority. iOS 5 added sharing through Twitter, iOS 6 sharing through Facebook, and iOS 7 now generalizes sharing to include other social networks and AirDrop. And of course there’s our community site, community.artauthority.net. As the world gets more connected, so does Art Authority!

Art Authority’s president, Alan Oppenheimer, and his wife Priscilla just got back from a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Combining business with pleasure, they presented the company’s wares at the Pitch 2013 startup show at AT&T Park, met with the foremost authority on Jan Brueghel the Elder at Berkeley, met with representatives of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco about the National Docent Symposium they’re hosting next month (more on that later), and saw the Diebenkorn and “Impressionists on the Water” exhibits at the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor respectively.

They also had a real life dinner with two of the participants in this year’s Summer Intern Program. We pride ourselves in the worldwide reach of our apps and our programs. The Art Authority database includes works from nearly a thousand museums and other art sites, our Art Authority apps bring that art to users around the world, our Art Alert app helps bring users around the world to that art. And our intern program this year included interns from as far east as the United Kingdom and as far west as New Zealand. We feel great about the difference we’re making worldwide. But every so often it’s really nice to just be able to sit down with people in real life and have dinner!

Dinner with interns in Berkeley

While working on Art Real Size, we found it quite interesting to look at different artists in terms of the size of their works in the Art Authority database. Which artists produced the biggest works? Which the smallest? And which had the greatest (or least) variety in terms of size? Here are some particularly “extreme” artists to explore and understand better through Art Real Size.

Largest works*: Giovanni da Bologna (sculptor), Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, David Alfaro Siqueiros (muralist)
Smallest works*: Martin Schongauer, M.C. Escher
Greatest variability**: Gian Lorenzo Bernini (sculptor), David Alfaro Siqueiros (muralist), Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Lowest variability**: Limbourg Brothers (miniaturists), Helen Allingham

Also, for those interested in extremes, tallest work:

The Apotheosis of the Pisani Family

The Apotheosis of the Pisani Family (through Art Real Size)

Widest work:

Smallest work:


*Based on at least 10 works with known heights
**Highest standard deviation of height

As you may have heard, Art Authority was featured in an article on “Applied Reading” in the New York Times Book Review last Sunday. The article begins by pointing out how “electronic textbooks” are “more effective” as learning tools than traditional paper-based solutions:

“Who wants merely… to squint at a tiny printed reproduction of a still life by Pieter Claesz — an artist who was sharing pictures of food centuries before Instagram was invented — instead of popping open a full-screen version to better study the composition?”

The article serves as a perfect example of its own point. In the print (“treeware”) version of the Times, the article includes, quite literally, “a tiny printed reproduction of a still life by Pieter Claesz” (as shown in Art Authority for iPad).

photo

There is a fundamental defect in the printed version of the paper however, which prevents you from “popping open a full-screen version to better study the composition.” You can however do this in the online version of the article (and as part of this post as well). And of course you do it even better in the app itself.

The fact that an electronic version of a Book Review article is fundamentally better than a print version of the same article is certainly a sign of the Times. As we think is Art Authority. Thank you New York Times for making your (and our) point so well!

 

 

Earlier this year, the FBI put together a Web site to ask for help recovering paintings stolen 23 years earlier from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A big piece of the Web site is a slide show of those works.

But, as is almost always the case, it’s very hard to get a feel for the size of works of art when shown online. For instance the fact that the stolen Rembrandt self-portrait is little bigger than your thumb.

With Art Authority for iPad’s new “Art Real Size” feature, now you can easily get that important feel.

We’ve also put together a video similar to the FBI’s, showing how the works appear in Art Authority for iPad.

The main reason we designed and implemented Art Real Size is to help people better understand and connect with works of art by better understanding the real size of those works. In this case, perhaps Art Real Size will also contribute in some small way to the works’ recovery and re-introduction into the art world, so people can once again see them real size for real. Here’s hoping anyway.

Here’s a special guest post from Julie Turgeon, one of the students participating in year 3 of the Art Authority Summer Intern Program:

We’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with Art Authority’s new Art Real Size feature this week. The tool completely transforms how art is viewed in a digital environment, adding what others have failed to provide thus far: a tangible dimension connecting the viewer to the works on-­screen. Exploring some of Art Authority’s 65,000 artworks with Art Real Size revealed some delightful surprises about some of our most beloved works. We’ve listed a few here to give you a taste of the capabilities of the new feature:

Art Real Size - Monet

1. Claude Monet’s larger-­than-­life-­sized Camille (The Woman in the Green Dress) was one of the artist’s earliest pieces. Painted and exhibited in 1866, the portrait boldly announced Monet’s arrival in the Parisian art scene. At that time, it was unheard of, almost risible, to paint someone who was neither of noble nor of privileged birth at such an impressive scale.

Art Real Size - Seurat 2Art Real Size - Seurat 1

2. Fellow Frenchman Georges Seurat’s paintings exhibit great range in size. The diminutive Eiffel Tower, for example, could fit inside his monumental masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 177 times, with wiggle-­room to spare! It took Seurat over two years to paint La Grande Jatte, and numerous sketches and studies exist dispersed throughout the world’s art museums (but conveniently at our disposal on the Art Authority app and community site). Seurat continually altered the composition of the pleasant waterfront scene as he progressed in his work, adding, for example, more bustle to the dress worn by the woman on the right-­hand side of the painting, reflecting the ever-­ shifting fashions of the era. Remarkably considering the scalar dissimilarities, both of Seurat’s works are composed of the same miniscule multi-­colored dots that became the defining characteristic of Pointillist paintings.

Art Real Size - Sully

3. Passage of the Delaware by Thomas Sully easily eclipses Seurat’s La Grande Jatte in size. The enormous historical painting has posed problems for the institutions wishing to display it since its completion in 1819. Originally commissioned by the state of North Carolina, the painting was refused because it would not fit in the allotted space in the state’s Senate Hall. Today, it rests placidly in a section of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, accommodated by the wing’s exceptionally high ceilings. The eleven-­day ordeal of hanging Sully’s most famous painting is documented on YouTube, and made the local news.

4. Andy Warhol used size to make a statement, although in a different way than Monet’s avant-­garde statement of artistic prowess and vision or Sully’s patriotic eulogy. Warhol’s whopping 15-­foot portrait of Mao Zedong, currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, scathingly critiques the overblown reputation and attention given to celebrities and prominent political figures such as the notorious communist leader. Mao’s gaudy maquillage adds an additional dimension of absurdity to the colossal canvas (we can’t show you the Art Real Size version here because this work remains under copyright).

Art Real Size - Mona Lisa

5. A post about size wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. She has gained quite a reputation for stunning the Louvre’s visitors with her small size, seemingly unfit for one of the best-­known paintings in the world. Eager museum-­goers bump and jostle shoulders, step on each other’s toes, and crane their necks over the perpetual gallery throng to get a glimpse at the iconic portrait and to experience the sensation of having Mona Lisa’s eyes follow them as they move through the room. The guidebook aphorism rings true: the posters sold in Parisian gift shops are larger than the actual painting! Fittingly, perhaps, scientists chose to recreate da Vinci’s Mona Lisa for the smallest painting ever. Astoundingly, they succeeded in creating a version of the painting that is half the width of a strand of human hair. Read more about the record-­breaking feat on the Huffington Post.

Appreciating a painting’s size is an indispensible component of interpreting a work of art. Art Real Size helps to bridge the gap between experiencing a work of art in person and seeing it on a digital platform by providing a visual tool through which the viewer can relate more viscerally to digital reproductions. We here at Art Authority are hooked on Art Real Size already, and are delighted to finally introduce this vital feature to our user community.

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