Tag Archives: museum

Prado in Google – a closer look at art

Viewing a Velasquez or a Rembrandt in a place like Spain’s Prado museum is a unique experience. Now you can use Google Earth technology to navigate reproductions of the Prado’s masterpieces, delving even deeper into the Prado’s collection. In Google Earth, you can get close enough to examine a painter’s brushstrokes or the craquelure on the varnish of a painting. The images of these works are about 14,000 million pixels, 1,400 times more detailled than the image a 10 megapixel digital camera would take. In addition, you’ll be able to see a spectacular 3D reproduction of the museum.

You can have this exquisite experience in Google Maps. There are 3 paintings you can currently view here, with a new painting a day after that for the next two weeks. I zoomed into Bosch’s ‘The garden of earthly delights’ and saw some very strange things happening in detail.

If you visit the Prado museum in Spain through Google Earth like I did, you’ll be able to view paintings in high resolution, as I did when I clicked on Goya’s ‘The 3rd of may’.  Here’s what it says once you get there:

We present a virtual tour of fourteen masterpieces from the Museo Nacional del Prado, displayed in ultra high resolution, enabling you to see details of the paintings that have never been seen before. Thanks to the high resolution of the digital images, you can view the whole painting or zoom in on a small fragment. Given the plethora of masterpieces housed at the Museum, choosing which works to include was no easy task but this selection represents the best of the collection.

What a way to learn; you can zoom into these works of art from wherever you are.

Jonathan Jones has a great art blog on guardian.co.uk has an interesting post with the pros and cons of this virtual art gallery.

I’ll get off now so you can get on with the virtual trip.  Have fun.

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Filed under 21st century learning, art

Guggenheim 2.0

The Guggenheim Museum in NY has a great little online event going which encourages interaction and collective thought around some of its collection. 

Catherine Opie is an American artist specialising in issues around documentary photography.

For this exhibition, Catherine Opie has selected images from the Guggenheim Museum’s photography collection and organized them into three sections: Self-Portraits, Landscapes, and Portraits. Visitors can write responses to the questions Opie poses about them and read other people’s responses.

Here are some more details from the Guggenheim Museum website:

September 26, 2008–January 7, 2009
While celebrated for her role behind the camera, Catherine Opie remains acutely aware of the voices of her subjects, and the diverse readings all images engender. Exploring this circuit of interpretation, Opie has selected images from the Guggenheim Museum’s photography collection to present alongside questions about the works’ themes and meanings, inviting museum visitors to respond with stories of their own.

People can participate online by writing about a photograph or reading other people’s comments.

guggenheimThe

I clicked on one of the portraits.

3infrontofcar

 These are the questions asked about the portraits:

What do you think makes a portrait interesting?

  • How do the titles of these photographs make you think differently about the people they portray?
  • Some of these images are made spontaneously while others are carefully staged by the artist. How does this difference in approach affect your response?

Here is one of the responses:

An interesting portrait to me is one that represents people honestly. Not only is it usually aesthetically pleasing, but it also is educational and interesting. In Keita’s photo of 3 women, she presents them in their usual daily clothing, telling the viewer something about their environment and status, and then the juxtaposition of the car brings to mind a completely different world or environment. The two together represent a very real albeit somewhat staged composition that’s intriguing and interesting.

I was excited to find this, and I’d like to keep up with the many innovative programs and ideas coming out of cultural institutions such as museums. The idea of  an artist selecting images from the collection is a creative way to bring out to more people what would normally remain within the walls of the museum, and perhaps not be accessed by as many otherwise. The addition of the questions and options to comment is added value,  inviting interaction and the sharing of opinions. I also like the fact that, whereas people would normally just look at the photos at an exhibition, maybe read a little about them, in this case the public is invited to express their impressions and opinions.

I was a little disappointed that only one or two responses were accessible, unless I’m missing something. I was looking forward to a real discussion and debate around the photos.

Nevertheless, an inspiring concept. This would be an excellent way to initiate discussion and reflection in the art classroom.

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Filed under 21st century learning, art, creativity, Web 2.0

Learning through discovery at the Melbourne Museum

The Discovery Centre within Museum Victoria makes research interesting and hands-on. A young person can wander in and spend a few hours without realising that it’s been a learning experience. Let’s say you came in and browsed some of the 2,000 plus natural or cultural objects available – not just on display in cabinets and drawers, but also available to touch and examine – then you’d be able to delve into a little research in a number of ways; you could:

have a close look at these objects under magnifiers or video microscopes;
use the reference library of books, journals, education kits, DVDs or videos;
browse through the extensive collection of online resources on public computers;
and you could always ask a staff member for help.

When I visited the Discovery Centre as a student of teacher librarianship, the staff were eager to help, but not eager to supply a quick and easy answer – they encouraged students to find information and answers for themselves, pointing out resources available and suggesting ways of searching. The research process becomes a challenging discovery task, well supported by the excellent variety of materials and resources. It’s great to find research modelled in such an enjoyable way.

The Discovery Centre’s website is user-friendly, and offers an ‘Ask the experts’ section. If you have something you want identified, or you need help with a research project, you can email the museum’s information experts, either with a general request, or an identification request. Every week, there is a ‘question of the week’ published on the website.

I think this is a valuable resource for primary and middle years students. It’s great to take research out of the classroom, and into such a dynamic and resource-rich environment.

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Collaborative project – Harvest of Endurance scroll

Human potential and creativity never cease to amaze me. Today I came across an online version of a work of art in the form of a 50-metre-long scroll representing two centuries of Chinese people in Australia. Harvest of Endurance is a painting in the traditional gong bi style depicting the story of hardship and resourcefulness of the Chinese in the history of Australia. Taking a little over 12 months to complete, the scroll is made up of 18 elaborately painted panels. It was purchased by the National Museum of Australia in 1992.

Appreciating the actual scroll is one thing, but just as impressive in its own way is the accompanying interactive website produced by the National Museum of Australia. You can explore the scroll from right to left along a timeline from 1788 to 1988 by clicking on stages which are described as eg. Australian gold rush; the rise of merchants, etc. In selecting a period, a scene forms in front of your eyes, first as an outline, then graudally as a complete coloured picture. Clicking on red arrows outlines an object or person, and provides you with a brief explanation or definition. There is a detailed audio-visual explanation of how to read the scroll, including how colour and form create the story, and an explanation of how the scroll was created from the point of view of the artist and the researcher.

The presentation of historical facts in artistic form, coupled with an interactive, multi-layered online representation, is a clever way to facilitate learning through exploration. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to create a similar project for students where each would have a choice whether to contribute as either a researcher, artist, technical expert or other. In particular, I like the way you can select parts of the picture for explanation or background, and I think that would be a great way for students to present their newly found facts.

The collaboration between the people of Australia and China in the form of the Australia-China Friendship Society aimed to promote friendship and understanding between the two countries and their cultures. It would be interesting to connect Australian students with students from another country, perhaps through blogs, in order to create a final product requiring collaboration and fostering friendship and mutual understanding. That would be an authentic and meaningful project.

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Filed under art, Education, research, technology