Saturday, February 28, 2009

Web Museums of the World

While wasting time on the listserv this week,
I was trying to show everyone a good depiction
of a Biblical miracle,
and I remembered the piece shown above
that I saw many years ago at the Cleveland Museum.

I love it!

Poor Jonah!

He's really gotten himself in a tight spot,
and then, miraculously, found a way out.


1) It's not now on display in the museum

2) The above image is the best
that The Cleveland Museum has to offer.
(except that for $35, they will mail you
an 8X10 color photograph)


What is the mission of an art museum
if not to collect/protect objects of cultural significance
and then make them conveniently available to be seen ?

The website of the Art Institute of Chicago
is not much better,
the images are still less than 35k

The Metropolitan Museum of New York
has very small images, as well

...but at least
they let you zoom up
into the detail areas of your choice

as does the National Gallery.

But still....
these images are just too small
to get a good feel for what is happening

The Boston Museum has these midsize images
(and it looks like they will put all 350,000 pieces up on the net)

..and they let you zoom up to this size for details

But this is the best detail that they offer
for one of their greatest paintings,
the Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace.

And it's just not big enough.

The same thing with this detail area
offered by the Hermitage

The Prado is much better,
allowing the user to zoom up to about 60X
(the above is a detail from the below)

but still,
it would be nice to get the whole image
in a very big size

which is exactly what
the British Museum offers.
(except that you have to register,
and then wait 24 hours for them to
send you the image by email)

(the above is a detail that I have cut
from the much larger image that they sent)

and finally,
we should mention the Louvre,
which is exceptionally good for sculpture
since it offers so many multiple views.


the European museums
are much better online
than their American counterparts.

they consider their mission
to be cultural dissemination
rather than high-end entertainment.

(although -- I can't find any online collections
from museums in Italy, except the Vatican,
and nothing from Germany.

Perhaps they are taking the old prostitute's advice:
"Don't give it away, girls")

the Tokyo National Museum
shows nice big, 100 k images,
except that
it doesn't show very many,
(and I'm wondering whether
they ever will)

The National Museum in Taipei
offers a few full scrolls like this one, on the internet

..which is zoom-able up to this

(depicting the poet/painter Su Shih floating down the Yangtze River
past the famous Red Cliffs where Cao Cao was defeated
a thousand years earlier)

but even better
are the zooms that are possible
for the calligraphy

(this scroll is by
Wu Y√ľan-chih (active 1190-1195)

Fortunately, they have good online displays
for the items in their special exhibits.

But unfortunately, only an expert
can find them.
(you can't get there from the main menu)

Guess I should also mention the Rijksmuseum
that shows VERY big images
of selected paintings in their collection.

Here's a nice piece of calligraphy
in an unusual masonry style.


Blogger marlyat2 said...

I wonder if any of them are listening to Chris, critic at large. They ought to, you know.

March 07, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Ancient Book Still Enthralls Kyoto


March 08, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

Marly wonders who is listening to me ... and then the furtive Sir Gawain magically appears to share images from the places haunted by Prince Genji.

What a fine morning this has been!

March 08, 2009  
Anonymous marly said...

We ought to appoint you Grand Imaginative Inspector-at-Large: that is, same as usual only with mind-blowing appointments with the narrow-minded.

I know I'm behind on Chris-wonders. Just the usual busy-ness, only a bit worse.

March 09, 2009  

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