Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Friday, April 26, 2013

82nd and Fifth

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is publishing a video series throughout this year in which their curators talk for two minutes about one of their favorite objects from the collection.  It is a stunning work in progress.  

All images of the objects are still photographs They are revealing in a way that a video would not be. Seeing them glide by while the curator talks is a contemplative experience. There is often a series of views approaching the object. You see the object in its museum setting. And you hear the curator explain why this object is special, special to her or him.

Curators' describe their personal experience that led to their selection. Curator George Goldner says of El Greco's View of Toledo "The first time I saw it I was 10 years old, I think...  
I always thought of paintings as being.... they reproduce reality, and that's what they were all about.  Seeing this painting... it was the first picture which attracted me to art. “

Most objects are not so famous as the El Greco and they are not paintings. Tapestry, sculpture, clothing, crossbows, guitars, a spoon, a Mesopotamian cylinder seal and the official signature of a sultan are all focused on with loving care and, of course, considerable knowledge.

In addition to the video each object can be viewed in a program that allows you to zoom in on it and turn it around. One of the most effective is Rembrandt’s drawing of Leonardo DiVinci’s Last supper. You can move a slider to view Leonardo’s fresco behind Rembrandt’s drawing. You can even display the black and white engraving  of the fresco that Rembrandt may have worked from. He never saw DaVinci's original.

A couple videos are published a week and you can subscribe to the series.