"The only merit I have is to have painted directly from nature with the aim of conveying my impressions in front of the most fugitive effects."
August 17, 2011 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Slick, but man is that a lot of loading.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on August 17, 2011

That's pretty amazing. I gave it a few mins to load, but it was worth it.
My terrible attention span did not let me finish, but that kind of made me feel ashamed of myself. Someone put a lot of work into this and it's really great. Conceptually and in execution.
posted by bleep at 4:50 PM on August 17, 2011

Thank you for posting this. I've been having a crap day, and the "journey" part of the site was just what I needed to sit calmly for a minute and chill out.

And I love any site that lets me zoom in and look at artist's brush strokes up close and personal like. Still not as awesome as seeing the works in person, but really close to it.
posted by Orb at 4:53 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is almost so so so great, but it doesn't allow me to view the whole of the piece, only zoomed in. Is that a function of my 'widescreen' monitor or is that a problem for everyone?
posted by Kattullus at 5:13 PM on August 17, 2011

Interesting that you say that Orb, because I was going to say pretty much the opposite. The only Monet pieces I have any experience of are some of the water-lily paintings, which I used to go and look at in the museum in Cardiff. They're pretty big paintings, and one of the things I like about them is how large the detail is. All the ones available on this site are 2m high in the original, and somewhere between about 7m and 18m across. However, I can zoom in to make these maybe 50cm across, and don't seem to be able to zoom out to fit them onscreen, except as a thumbnail. Detail photography of these paintings is not just trivial, it's almost certainly already been done. I'd love to have access to it.

On the other hand, the site is beautifully designed and presented, and the journey works very well as a tantalisation. I just wish it offered that extra bit of depth for those of us who don't have access to many really good paintings on a regular basis, or who can't get to the exhibition to see these ones in particular.
posted by howfar at 5:16 PM on August 17, 2011

Thanks for this. In 2005 I saw the Turner, Whistler, Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais and it's one of my happiest art memories. The website seems gorgeous and makes me realize I should probably get a real computer rather than a netbook.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:25 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any day viewing Monet is a good day.

I can still vividly remember walking through the Monet show at the Art Institute in 1995. And holding-back the tears standing in that final room in front of the large triptych of water lilies. Powerful stuff, man, when you have an opportunity like that...to walk-through an artist's life's work and experience him working to this final, glorious point.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:46 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

That was awesome, thanks for posting.
posted by New England Cultist at 5:48 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

It makes me giggle to think of how annoyed Debussy would be to have his music be used as the soundtrack for an interactive retrospective of an Impressionist painter's work.
posted by invitapriore at 6:13 PM on August 17, 2011

My favourite Monets are the Nymphéas in the Orangerie (click on "visite virtuelle"), and his garden at Giverny.
posted by Wolof at 6:16 PM on August 17, 2011

Seems to be a flaw of the viewer that it's max zoomed out is "sized to fill" rather than "sized to fit". I'd rather see the missing bits of the painting than not see a gallery background. So, there's that.

On the other hand: MONET! Yow.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:24 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

This was fabulous, thanks much!
posted by dejah420 at 8:40 PM on August 17, 2011

I loved it. Wonder if Monet would love it too?
posted by naplesyellow at 9:32 PM on August 17, 2011

I need a webcam to look at Monet? I don't have one. What's that all about? That Journey thing is awesome, but I'm not sure it really has that much to do with Monet.

On the other hand, that painting browser is freaking awesome. There's an early Monet I've been looking for, for ages. I remember seeing it in a slide lecture, it had the most crudely painted, but incredibly vivid ripples on water. I remember it delivered the impression the sun shining off the ripples so strongly, that I remember little else. I keep thinking I've found it, maybe it's the "La Grenouillere" from 1869. And then I see one of the early versions of "The Bridge at Argenteuil" from 1874 and maybe that's it. Oh they're all so good.

Hey I'll tell you the most amazing Monet thing I ever heard. A couple of Monet Water Lilies paintings were destroyed in a fire at MOMA in 1958, oh what a horrible thing. They donated one of them that was scorched and blackened but not destroyed to the Art Institute of Chicago (IIRC) for research and experimentation on techniques to repair paintings. I heard they found a way to vaporize the scorched surface off with a laser, and reveal the undamaged paint underneath. They may be able to (mostly) restore the whole painting.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:35 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow that was amazing. Thanks for the post.
posted by mitrieD at 9:40 PM on August 17, 2011

I am surprised to be the only one here who thinks these super-slick super-high-tech acceleration-Beziered flash animations are the complete antithesis of Monet's art.
posted by scrowdid at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Right - scrowdid - I'm not sure what Monet the semi-recluse, who would take a cup of hot chocolate each afternoon, and entertain visitors reluctantly because they distracted him from his painting would make of this.

At best I would go for bemusement.
posted by multivalent at 4:12 AM on August 18, 2011

Wait, what? Eight minutes to load, then it wants access to my webcam, and eats all my memory?
posted by lollusc at 5:38 AM on August 18, 2011

It wants your webcam so you can do things like wave away the fog and blow on windmills to make them turn.
posted by bleep at 7:17 AM on August 18, 2011

I definitely understand the critiques, as museum websites with a lot of bells and whistles don't always deliver an experience that feels worth the effort and money put into it. But I really liked this one, because it achieved what I'm sure was its major goal: Allowing me to re-experience and re-appreciate works that I've seen - some in reality, some in reproduction - hundreds of times. It restored their freshness through gentle, fairly subtle animation and cropping, and there were moments in "the journey" where the paintings gave me an almost fully sensory, almost directly visual glimpse of the sounds, smells, textures, and light on the scenes they depicted.

After years of working with museum stuff on the web, I've realized there is definitely no approach that everyone will universally love. But this is one I thought was simple and yet very thoughtfully produced and, for me, wonderfully effective.
posted by Miko at 7:28 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would have liked to look at this. On my Mac, the site locks on the webcam permission screen in both Safari 5.1 and Chrome.
posted by namasaya at 3:37 PM on August 18, 2011

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