old paintings in new media


aintings are usually displayed in rooms. Maybe a few together but not more. To display a lot of paintings one would need a lot of rooms. The concept of the museum is exactly this.

With Western paintings on canvas or wood the display is more or less a permanent solution. Paintings are heavy. They are difficult to move. Storage is complicated.
In modern museums usually the bigger part of the collected art works is stored away, not displayed at all.

Prints and drawings always were put away in folders and drawers and are so fragile that they are not displayed at all or only over a very short period. In a museum they would require then framing or showcases.

The concept of Eastern paintings is different. The paintings here, beside decorations on walls and sliding doors, are not permanently attached to a room but in form of scrolls, album pieces and folding screens and only displayed when it is desired to see them. To be stored away is the normal condition and a display is the exception. An opened scroll painting is much more delicate and needs to be handled with great care.

For a long time only printed reproductions would make it possible at all, with obvious limitations, to give a visual impression outside the room the painting is actually displayed at a certain time. But with modern screens and displays this has changed dramatically and it would be technically very easy to show anything, any-time, anywhere.

However it is not that easy to find artworks displayed in a good quality. Pictures are shown in sizes and solutions in the range of useless to barely acceptable, rarely good enough to see any details of the beautiful craftsmanship, the delicacy of the fine drawing and colours.

It is heartbreaking to see even the best artworks often reduced to tumbnail sized symbols. They are treated like brands in the portfolio of their collections and museums, which should be dedicated to their greatest praise, but not to their great prize only. The reasons are very trivial and do not deserve too much room here.

We better should point out the opportunities missed.
Even if we are inside of the room the painting is displayed, often the situation does not allow a really good study of the details in the artwork. It might be too far away or it might be too big.

The combination of modern digital photography, easy data storage and screen display offers, without any physical danger to the fragile artworks, exactly the right tools to show more of the painting, even more we might see during a direct observation.

So please..... lets use them!

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