Hopefully there’s an art museum, gallery, studio, or exhibition space within easy traveling distance from wherever you’re sitting right now. And hopefully it beckons you, and you grace it with your patronage just as often as you possibly can.
But…we have to admit there are limits inherent in the museum experience. Say, for example, you wished to examine the Mona Lisa. Aficionado that you are, you will settle for no cursory glance. You need to delve into each brush-stroke, and immerse yourself in the passion and the process that was consuming Leonardo roughly 514 years ago when he was capturing that enigmatic smile.
Let us assume, in this hypothetical scenario, that you have equal access to both the Louvre, and a steady WiFi connection. That means you have options, seen here. So judge for yourself, which of these experiences will best slake your thirst for artistic understanding:
This digital age of ours has already granted unprecedented access to art, artistry, and artists around the world. That access is poised to expand exponentially.
The Pharos Project is partnering with some of the most prestigious art institutions in the world (fourteen so far, including the Frick Collection, Washington’s National Gallery, the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, and Paris’s Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art) to digitize and upload for free worldwide access millions of art-related images—not just the artworks themselves, but also historical notes on attribution and provenance, and even photos of the backs of the artwork, and x-rays taken during restoration efforts.
By 2020 Pharos expects to have seven million images available online.
So how exactly does this looming virtual mega-museum fit in with your local patronage activities? Hopefully seamlessly and synergistically. Let your hometown (or any town) art institutions be your home base for culture, venues for immersion and visceral experience. And let the experiences you find there whet your appetite for deeper, perhaps more scholarly exploration—with Pharos lighting the way.
Art and culture remain our most civilizing influences. It’s fortunate indeed that we’re bringing them with us as civilization expands into places, even digital ones, where we’ve never gone before.