Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts boasts a truly impressive collection of Italian paintings. Now, one no longer needs leave the house in order to see them: over 500 works, from Veronese to De Chirico, are available from the comfort of your sofa.
In a challenging multimedia project involving dozens of scientists, years of work and some $135,000, the museum has placed its Italian collection online. The website is available in three languages – Russian, English and – naturalmente! Italian.
Masterpieces from the 8th to the 20th century were carefully photographed and digitalized to convey their unique beauty and show every crack and detail.
The works are divided into thematic sections such as landscapes, mythological scenes, biblical scenes, allegories and still lives. There is also chronological division. The collection ranges from early mosaics, through canvases by Titian and Boticelli, to the Futurist works of Gino Severini.
Apart from the website, the project also offers virtual tours around the museum halls available on DVD. And for those with specialist interest in Italian painting, the museum has produced a 1.5-hour documentary, looking at 30 iconic works of Italian masters.
In 2009, the Pushkin Museum digitalized over 1,200 paintings from its back rooms, including Japanese graphic art of the 16th-20th centuries, British etchings of the same period and Russian etchings from the 18th-19th centuries.
The museum plans to carry on with digitalizing its vast collection. Besides making art available to millions around the world and helping interest young people, the project serves another important aim. This way, a lasting image of each priceless work exists, and will help restorers in the future recapture the fleeting beauty of art.