Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Art Restoration on a Snowy Day

Since my road looks like this:

I will not be going into work today.  Instead, I'm working from home at the desk in the guest room and savoring a second cup of coffee.

I wanted to share this interactive from a December 18th article in the NY Times. The Met has a painting in their collection that has, in the sixty years it's been at the museum, been alternately identified as a Velázquez, repudiated as such, and now vindicated. It's a really interesting story, but what attracted my attention even more was the accompanying interactive.

Extensive restoration work was done on the painting over the last eighteen months, which was key in revealing the true identity of the work. To help readers see the difference in the painting pre- and post-restoration work, the Times layered photographs of the two stages (pre-restoration on top & post- on the bottom). Readers can move a slider back & forth to see more & less of the images. The difference is astounding!

I love the idea of using an interactive like this for a museum exhibit, particularly one that includes paintings and can therefore raise those specific issues of art conservation. However, you could also do something like it to illustrate any kind of restoration work, from furniture to documents. It's a more sophisticated version of the "before & after" trick and I think it's probably quite easy to execute on the technical side. Hmmm - I'm getting ideas . . .

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