This summer, the Europeana digital library launched its first app, Open Culture, which includes a selection of 350,000 images from its online collection of cultural objects from Europe’s institutions. The app is organizied around five curated themes, including Maps and Plans, Treasures of Art, Treasures of the Past, Treasures of Nature, and Images of the Past.
Users can perform keyword searches in the app, or browse through a visual wall of image thumbnails. You can also save favorites, add comments, and share object records on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps best of all: the images included in the Europeana Open Culture app are either in the public domain or openly licensed, so they may be used for any publishing purpose.
For more information, stop by the VRC to explore Open Culture on our iPad, or visit the App Store.
Via Europeana Blog
Mummies are being imaged with CT scanners and 3D scanning technology to capture the interior as well as the exterior surfaces, colors, and textures of the mummy as well as the cartonnage and sarcophagus. Eventually these images will result in an interactive exhibition. The Guardian describes the project as such:
The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm, FARO and Autodesk have teamed up in a mummy visualisation project. The collection will be digitised using the latest 3D reality capture techniques and made available to museum visitors through an interactive exhibition experience.
Via The Guardian.
Clipping Magic is a new web tool to easily remove the background from images. You upload your image, mark the image with the website’s red and green tools (red for background, and green for foreground), and voila! The areas marked red will be removed from the image and you can then download the edited image file. This is a great alternative to using Photoshop to remove a background, especially for removing image backgrounds on the fly.
Clipping Magic is currently free while the service is in alpha.
In 2009, the Tate published The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms and followed it with an iPad and iPhone app released in March 2012. The app defines more than 300 terms pertaining to modern art themes, movements, media, and art practices, and many definitions are illustrated with artwork examples.
The app interface allows users to search for terms or browse by image gallery or category. Users can also create a list of “favorite” art terms.
To learn more about the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, check out the iTunes App Store, the Tate, or visit the VRC to try it on our iPad. You can also browse the physical copy in the Regenstein reference section.
The Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford has recently released Reel to Real, a digital collection pertaining to sound and video from ethnomusicology research. “The content of the recordings ranges from spirits singing in the rainforests of the Central African Republic to children’s songs and games in playgrounds throughout Europe.”
The website features playlists of curated material along with archival photographs taken at the same time the recordings were made.
To learn more, explore the Reel to Real collection.
To accompany their recently opened exhibition The Life of Art: Context, Collecting, and Display, the Getty released a mobile app of the same name. The exhibition, which opened in February, looks at only four objects in the museum’s collection, but it does so in extreme detail to encourage users to consider the entire “life” of the object, long before it entered the museum’s collection.
Their app of the same name allows iPad users to explore the same four objects in the installation, providing a 360-degree view of the objects as well as information about the technique used in the objects creation, the history and cultural context of the style, and any damage that came from the object’s use over time.
For more information, visit the Life of Art app or stop by the VRC to check out this app and many other art apps on our iPad 2.
The Art Institute of Chicago has an extensive resource called Turning the Pages, which utilizes software developed by the British Museum to present fully digitized book-reader objects of select objects in the AIC’s collection. Images can be also zoomed in to view details. So far, 30 objects from various departments in the AIC’s collection and library have been rendered in this software:
Several of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most unique and important artist sketchbooks, manuscripts and rare printed items are now available online. Viewers may page through or zoom in to look closely at the bound volumes, prints, and handscroll paintings from the Department of Prints and Drawings, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, and the Department of Asian Art.
You’ll need to have Microsoft Silverlight enabled on your computer to use Turning the Pages software. If you don’t have it, it can be downloaded for free here.
For more information, visit the AIC’s Interpretive Resource page for Turning the Pages objects.
Image from Presentation copy of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Le Chef d’oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), 1931.
The Center for the Art of East Asia has recently announced the launch of a new and improved website for the digital handscroll paintings project:
One of the major types of traditional East Asian painting, the handscroll, or horizontal scroll, is meant to be appreciated by unrolling and viewing it section-by-section as a continuous composition. Unfortunately, the temporal and participatory aspects of viewing handscrolls cannot be readily experienced today, as the original paintings are far too valuable and fragile to be handled frequently. When shown in museums, they are always placed in glass cases and are seldom displayed in their entirety. For students and specialists seeking to view them, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain access to these important cultural materials. Beyond the rare opportunities to experience them in person, they are primarily known through static, fragmentary images in slides and as photographs in books. Fortunately, the digital medium has offered the potential for much greater exposure to these works of art, simulating the interactive viewing experience for which they were originally designed. The Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA)at the University of Chicago has teamed with the Visual Resources Center (VRC) and Humanities Research Computing to develop this innovative digital presentation. Initially used as a course website, we are also developing it as a resource for teaching and research at other universities and for museum archiving and exhibition. The digital scrolling paintings website is a multi-functional tool that allows users to move through the scrolls and view elements of the painting in high resolution, with colophons, signatures, and seals of artists and collectors, and also to examine their media, materiality, and techniques of production. This is a means to fuller understanding of a work both in its details and as a composite of its many elements.
Digital technology presents these paintings as continuous scrolling images and offers various kinds of user interfaces such as auto-scrolling, zooming, and comparison. The newly designed website has more paintings accessible for public viewing and enhanced functions for searching, text annotations, and links to related material. We are continuing to add paintings to the public website and partnering with other institutions with a goal to create a more extensive public database of these invaluable works of art. We will include more rare works, Japanese painting, and calligraphy. The project has negotiated agreements to show paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Palace Museum, Beijing, St. Louis Art Museum, and the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago.
To learn more, visit the Digital Scrolling Paintings Project.
A collaborative website—The Story of the Beautiful: Freer, Whistler, and Their Points of Contact—between the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Wayne State University presents a virtual tour of James McNeil Whistler (1834–1903)’s Peacock Room. Users are given the option to visit the room as it existed in London in 1876 or as it appeared after Charles Lang Freer moved the room to Detroit and reassembled it there in 1908. In addition to panning through the 3D interior space of the room, users can click on individual objects for more information as well as supplementary content including maps, timelines, and archival material from the Charles Lang Freer Papers. The team behind the website describes their project:
The site thus functions both as a digital archive and as an immersive virtual environment in which users can explore the room, learn about the objects it has contained, and see how the places and faces associated with the room contributed to its history. Anchored by the two virtual tours, the site offers users a deeply contextualized way to navigate the collections: some 400 digital objects, among them the room itself, the objects it has contained, as well as archival materials such as photographs, bills of sale, and correspondence.
In addition to exploring the Peacock Room virtually, users can browse the obects in the collection and digitized content from the archives separately. For more information, visit the website.