Following up on our recent summer intern program update, we thought we’d talk about how the Art Authority museum has been evolving to give you more to explore. Not just more to explore than when it first “opened” over four years ago (on the same day as the iPad shipped), but also more to explore, in many ways, then any single real-world museum.

We of course love real-world museums, whose viewing experience cannot be replaced by any app, including ours. But the Art Authority museum viewing experience likewise cannot be replaced by any real-world museum. Since we started using Childe Hassam’s work in our intern update, let’s keep going with that.

In the update post, we mentioned that Hassam’s Art Authority collection includes 487 works. It is of course very unlikely that any single real-world museum, even through a special exhibit, would be able to gather that many of Hassam’s works under one real-world roof. The post also indicated that many of his works in Art Authority include not just standard museum details like date and medium but also items that only a virtual museum could provide, such as links to in-depth articles about the works.

The post also showed how our groundbreaking Art Real Size feature helps you explore and understand the size of the works, addressing one of the big defects of many virtual museums. And with Art Like This you can view items from across all Art Authority collections that are similar to any work (check out how similar to Hassam’s the Monet work is below).

Allies Day, May 1917

Explore Hassam’s “Allies Day” through articles, Art Real Size, and Art Like This

But there’s still more to explore too. You can view a work full-screen, and then zoom in on any part of the work, often much closer than you can get in a museum. For selected works, you can follow a link to a video about that work. And through the grid view’s chronological thumbnail display, you can gains insights into how an artist’s style has evolved over the course of their career. 

Allies Day, 1917

Explore full-screen, zoom in, view a video, compare to artist’s other works

If you do spend the time to become familiar with Hassam, or any other artist in this way, you may well want to continue your exploration by seeking out real-world museums that are displaying his works. Art Authority can help you to find and preview exhibits at many of those museums. And our companion Art Alert app can then help you to get there too.

We think you’re going to really adore how Art Authority helps you explore more!

The summer is drawing to a close already, with back-to-school just around the corner. So it seems like a good time for an update on the fourth year of our summer intern program.

Year 4 was a bit more sane than year 3, in which we had nearly 30 interns working on enhancing the Art Authority database. With time to look back over year 3 and plan, our intern manager (who came to us thanks to her year 2 work), was able to figure out how to best build upon the year 3 work in year 4.

Whereas years 2 and 3 were mainly about bulk additions to the database, year 4 was mainly about enhancements and fine tuning. In particular we focused on over 100 artists whose collections we felt were not quite up to the quality of the rest of the Art Authority museum. For these artists, we first made sure their major works were included in their collection where possible. We then went through and updated the “metadata” associated with their collection’s works. This metadata included not only real-world museum details like date, size, and medium, but also items unique to virtual museums, like links to articles about the works and videos

As an example, the Art Authority database includes 487 works by the American impressionist Frederick Childe Hassam. Before the summer, entries for only 5 of those works included links to articles about the work. Now there are 98 such links. Before the summer less than one-third of the entries included the medium used; now all but 10 do. Less than 100 entries originally included the size of the works (particular meaningful through our Art Real Size feature); now all but 33 do. And again less than one-third included the location of the actual work itself, versus all but 10 now (making finding and viewing the physical work much easier, especially with the help of our Art Alert app).

Exploring Hassam's Flags

Three ways of exploring Hassam’s Flags.

The end result of year 4 will thus be a deeper, more meaningful collection, with some important new works, but also lots of important new information about and new ways to explore many of the works.

Quite a set of accomplishments. As always, however, we hope and believe that the most significant result of the program is the additional learning, experience, and exposure gained by the interns themselves, both in the traditional art field and in the various new technologies that are becoming ever more important to that field as it “goes digital.” One of the most gratifying parts of the summer intern program has been hearing back from past interns who tell us how useful it has proven in their ongoing careers.

We have always felt that one of the key goals of Art Authority is making a difference at the intersection of the technology and art worlds. We are very proud of the fact that this difference is made not only directly through our apps, but also through other related efforts such as our community site and the summer intern program. 

Here’s looking forward to year 5!

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!