Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 – 1669) An Old Man in Military Costume, about 1630 – 1631, Oil on panel Unframed: 65.7 x 51.8 cm (25 7/8 x 20 3/8 in.) Framed: 94 x 79.7 x 5.7 cm (37 x 31 3/8 x 2 1/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The future is now where art is concerned. The technology in today’s world is astounding. For most of us, if we think back to when we were youngsters, the thought of being able to call up thousands of high resolution images of the great artistic works of the world was the stuff of pie-in-the-sky sci fi. But here it is.
The Getty Museum has been adding thousands of documents from their collection to the Open Content program. In a nutshell, this springs from the idea that the problem with studying art has always been access. You have to get to where that art is, and gain access to it. They’ve summed up this new direction well in a blog post on The Getty Iris.
“Art institutions, including the Getty, are redefining the relationship between their collections and their publics. Instead of looking at ourselves primarily as the owners of the objects under our safekeeping, we are conceiving of ourselves as stewards engaged in active collaboration and engagement with multiple communities who are discovering myriad new uses for images and documents. It is a very exciting time for art history.”
Nicolaes Maes (Dutch, 1634 – 1693) Adoration of the Shepherds, about 1660, Oil on canvas Unframed: 110.5 x 96.5 cm (43 1/2 x 38 in.) Framed: 129.5 x 115.3 x 4.4 cm (51 x 45 3/8 x 1 3/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
There are now over 10,000 images, with more on the way, all searchable through the Getty Search Gateway. And these are not just little JPGs suitable for your monitor. The images in this post look good, but they have been drastically scaled. The full size file for that Rembrandt at the top is 6525×8325. Here is a 100% crop from Adoration of the Shepherds, to give you an idea of the scale.
It really is an amazing thing. And it is only going to keep getting better. This is just the beginning for the Open Content program at the Getty. Even better, one would think that others will join in as the program continues to mature. As that collection at large grows, so to will the tools to access it. It’s cool, living in the future.
After Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson (French, 1767 – 1824) Burial of Atala, after 1808, Oil on canvas Unframed: 50.5 x 61.9 cm (19 7/8 x 24 3/8 in.) Framed: 75.6 x 87.6 x 10.2 cm (29 3/4 x 34 1/2 x 4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590 – 1656) Christ Crowned with Thorns, about 1620, Oil on canvas Unframed: 222.3 x 173.5 cm (87 1/2 x 68 5/16 in.) Framed: 254.6 x 204.5 x 10.5 cm (100 1/4 x 80 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles