Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going to the Louvre: There's an app for that

I've been to the Louvre, and I am an art lover, and I assure you that an Apple iPhone is no substitute for a  visit to a real museum. However, for fun, I thought I'd download a free application (offered by that venerable museum) that has been making the "Top 25" free list at the iTunes app store.  It turns out the Louvre Museum app is a good way to pass some time looking at photos of great paintings and learning something about them. It's an app I think other boomers will like as well.

The icon of the Louvre application is a picture of the Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting in the collection. Click on Mona, and you get a lovely picture of the museum at night, followed by a page that says "Artworks" with Mona in the middle. If you touch the picture of the Mona Lisa, the introduction to the collection begins. I touched the first artwork presented --The Lacemaker by Jan Vermeer, and a larger picture of the painting came up.

Touch the small star on the right hand side and you come to this page.

When I touched the "About the Work" tab, an explanation of the picture and its components appeared.

The "back" tab, took me to the menu where I could "See more detail." Here I was able to use the iPhone's stretch feature to make the painting fill the entire field of the phone's screen and turn the photo to the orientation that best fit the work. Turning the phone horizontally brought up the "back" button again, and I returned to the menu.

The "Technical information" tab is pretty much what it seems: information on the size of the canvas, what kind of paint was use, where the inscription is, how the museum acquired the painting, and so on. The "Location" tab shows a map of the location of the painting in the museum. If you were walking through the Louvre, you might want to use this iPhone application to find important works.

The application contains pictures and information on about twenty pieces of artwork. I haven't had time to look at each one, but I look forward to it, as free time allows.


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