Social Media Today: Snapchat Launches Virtual Art Gallery for Black History Month. “For all the talk about how social media platforms have ruined art, literature, attention spans, cinema, etc. – could it be possible that digital platforms may also become the connective tool that links a new generation to art, and re-ignites traditional forms? This week, to celebrate Black History Month, Snapchat has launched a new Lens which invites users into a virtual art gallery and showcases the work of black Millennial artists.”
Phys .org: Unblocking naked Venus: Facebook OKs museum nudes after all. “It seems Facebook can be friends with a topless Venus after all. The social media giant said Tuesday it mistakenly blocked a museum in Switzerland from using images of two statues—a marble Venus and a bronze of a nude, kneeling man—to promote an upcoming exhibit.” Facebook is really excellent at making mistakes like this, isn’t it?
Fast Company: Can you tell the difference between Rembrandt and an algorithm?. “Very few artists in the history of the world were able to capture people’s nature with the precision, humanity, and humor of Dutch masters like Rembrandt or Hals. Could a machine ever be trained to do the same? That’s the premise of Sergio Albiac’s series, You have learnt nothing. Like the work that came out of the golden age of Dutch painting, these paintings may look like the product of oil, brushes, and fingers. But, like the rest of Albiac’s work, these portraits are actually the result of the artist’s computer code.”
The Getty Iris: Conservation Work Reveals the Hidden Revisions of Pontormo, Italian Renaissance Master. “Advances in imaging technology have revolutionized science and medicine—and today, they are also revolutionizing the study and conservation of art. New imaging techniques have made it possible for art conservators and conservation scientists to develop treatments for an artwork, and to unlock secrets beneath its surface, just by looking. Imaging techniques also allow specialists to travel back in time and hypothesize what an artist might have reconsidered and altered while painting—a ‘track changes’ of sorts for art. These changes hidden beneath the paint layers are known as pentimenti, derived from the Italian pentirsi, which means to repent or change your mind.”
Philly .com: Pull out those colored pencils: Museums worldwide are offering free adult coloring books for download. “Whether you consider yourself a natural born artist or a stick-figure-drawer for life, creating a colorful masterpiece has never been easier, thanks to the Color Our Collections campaign. The week-long initiative (through Feb. 8) invites you to choose from hundreds of adult coloring books, featuring images from the collections of quirky museums, libraries, and archives around the world.”
Techworld: Meet the charity scanning and archiving thousands of historic watercolours. “A charity is undertaking efforts to build a historical database of watercolour paintings, saving their fate from being hidden away within the corridors of private homes or the archives of public institutions. In the pre-photography era, governments would train soldiers on military expeditions in watercolour painting to document the war efforts. In fact, this practice continues today. But before war photography was even possible, sketching battlefields or other operations was one of the few ways to record history in real-time.” I mentioned this initiative in 2017 and now it’s available.
My Modern Met: 500 Japanese Woodblock Prints from Van Gogh’s Collection Are Now Available to Download. “During the second half of the 19th century, interest in Japanese art by Europeans was at an all-time high. This appetite for studying Japanese aesthetics, and its influence on Western art, is known as Japonism. Though closely associated with Impressionist painters like Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt, Japanese woodblock prints also played a pivotal role in the career of Vincent Van Gogh.”