Archives for the month of: August, 2013

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).

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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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Art Authority for iPad 4.8 is a major new release of our #1 classic art viewing app. It adds the groundbreaking “Art Real Size” feature, along with some changes in the way you get around. For long-time Art Authority for iPad users, we thought we’d list  the getting-around changes you might want to be aware of. When we went to add the cool “Art Real Size”, we realized that the way people got around within the various “shows” could use some improvement, particularly when viewing framed art (which is where you get to “Art Real Size” as well as “Art Like This”). So we replaced the gear button in that view with a pull-down menu, and made a few other changes as well. Here’s a list:

  • The gear button is replaced with a pull-down menu, which is used to get to the thumbnail grid, “Art Like This” and the new “Art Real Size”
  • A single tap on the framed work of art also gets you to “Art Real Size”. Another single tap will get you back.
  • Double-tap, or pinch-zoom, on the framed work takes you to the full-screen view (even if viewing “Art Real Size”)
  • In addition to flicking, you can now go to the previous or next work of art by tapping the very left or very right of the screen (as you do in the iBooks app)
  • If you want to go to the first work in a show, tap above the filmstrip and then tap the first image in the filmstrip.
  • You can of course push the pull-down menu up out of the way when you’re not using it.

An additional nice new feature in Art Authority for iPad 4.8 is that you can now flick from room to room. So for instance, flick left to go from the main room to the Early room. Then from Early to Renaissance. Etc. Check the Art Authority for iPad Users Guide for all the details of getting around Art Authority for iPad.

Night Watch Night Watch with Art Real Size

 

Today we’re introducing a new feature in Art Authority for iPad. We think it’s a meaningful and groundbreaking one. It’s called “Art Real Size.”

Traditionally, when works of art are reproduced in books, posters, Web sites and yes, even apps, they’re usually displayed as large as possible. Art Authority, as well as some other sites and apps, have supplemented this type of display with, for instance, a grid of small images (thumbnails) that includes similar works by the same artist or from the same period. Art Authority for iPad also displays the works framed and hanging on the walls of its professionally designed rooms, one of its most popular features.

Until now however, all these different ways of displaying the art overlooked one key fact: different works of art have different sizes. We all showed each work of art at essentially the same size as all the other works. Art Authority for iPad’s 65,000 paintings and sculptures all showed up at about 7 by 5 inches on an iPad in “full-screen view”, 5 x 4 when hanging on a wall, and less than an inch square when in a thumbnail grid. We  just haven’t been showing you the whole picture!

It’s true we, and many other sites, have a caption, which might say a work is 182.9 x 243.9 cm, or 9 1/8 x 6 7/8 in. But that really doesn’t mean anything to most people looking at the image, does it? “Art Real Size” gives real meaning to the real size of a work of art.

So how does Art Real Size accomplish its magic? It would be quite a feat to display most works of art real size on a 7 x 5 inch iPad screen (where is that holographic technology from Star Wars when you really need it?). But by adapting an old trick to a new device, we can do almost as well. In this case a picture is probably worth even more than a thousand words, so here are some examples:

We’ve also created a video, worth a thousand pictures.

See how well it works! You now “get” the whole picture. The people viewing the art provide the context needed for our brain to immediately understand the real size of the works. You can see what you’ve been missing! If you had gone to the Louvre and looked at the Mona Lisa, and then walked down the hall to The Raft of the Medusa, you couldn’t have missed this HUGE difference. But if you hadn’t, with just about any other presentation, you wouldn’t have had a clue. That’s what Art Real Size is all about.

And that’s what Art Authority is all about. Making a difference. As the #1 classic art app out there, we’ve been doing that for five years now. Art Real Size is just our latest and greatest.

Art Real Size is available in Art Authority for iPad 4.8, in the App Store today. And it’s on sale for half-price to celebrate! Updates from previous versions are of course free. Check it out, and see how size matters.

Last year, the Huffington post ran an article and slide show celebrating the Louvre’s 219th anniversary. We thought for its 220th (August 10, 2013) we’d take advantage of Art Authority for iPad’s new “Art Real Size” feature to show you what that article, and almost all representation of art to date, are missing.

The Huffington Post article, “10 Must-See Works Of Art At The Louvre” is an excellent one, but, like most others before it, it doesn’t quite give you the whole picture. Courtesy of our updated Art Authority for iPad app, you can now see what you’ve been missing:

We’ve also posted a similar video.

See! The whole picture. If you can make it to the Louvre, and find these works, you absolutely should. If not, Art Authority for iPad with Art Real Size is the next best way to fully understand and appreciate the works. Size matters!