Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds
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This blog has written about the the Van Gogh Museum, and the Van Gogh Letters before as two of the finest examples of a museum’s adaptation and use of New Media technology to make art accessible – to everyone. Now, the Van Gogh Museum, in cooperation with FUJIFILM Belgium NV, has developed a special reliefography technique (think bas relief), called Relievo to produce exceptional quality 3d reproductions of some of Van Gogh’s masterpieces.
The paintings are “Almond Blossom” (1890), “Sunflowers” (1889), “The Harvest” (1888), “Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds” (Above) (1890) (Above), and one of his few paintings of Paris, “Boulevard de Clichy” (1887). You can get a good sense of the size of the reproductions by viewing the installing of the “Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds at the bottom of this post.
This is a step beyond Google Art as it allows you to actually touch the painting to feel the brushtrokes and the the impasto technique (paint applied so thickly as it appears to be rising up out of the canvas) that Van Gogh used in his work.
The following is reprinted from the Van Gogh Museum website:
“The Van Gogh Museum, in cooperation with Fujifilm, has developed a technique for the production of three-dimensional reproductions of Van Gogh masterpieces. These reproductions, which are called Relievos, are of such outstanding quality that they resemble the original artwork very closely. At present, the Relievo collection consists of five works: Almond blossom (1890), Sunflowers (1889), The harvest (1888), Wheatfield under thunderclouds (1890) and Boulevard de Clichy (1887).
The special 3d technique, by means of which these reproductions are produced, goes by the name of Reliefography. This technique is a combination of a three-dimensional scan of the painting and a professional, high-resolution print. A Relievo consists of a faithful reproduction of the front of the painting, as well as of the back and comes in a frame. During the production process, experts of both Fujifilm and the Van Gogh Museum closely monitor highly rigorous quality checks. Size, colour, brightness and texture are reproduced as accurately as possible to create a full-scale premium 3D replica of a Van Gogh painting. The final result has been approved by the curator of the museum.
The museum intends to generate extra revenues and to find new targets groups with this new generation of reproductions. The Van Gogh Museum, being a cultural enterprise, is continuously searching for new markets. Moreover, the museum intends to be in the vanguard of the latest technological developments. This technique takes the reproduction of works of art to new levels of outstanding quality, which the museum likes to offer to those who enjoy Van Gogh’s paintings.
In addition to selling the product, it is also meant for educational purposes. For instance, segments of a Relievo are used in the Van Gogh at work exhibition. Due to its restricted size and delicate nature, the Van Gogh Museum collection can only be enjoyed by a limited number of viewers. By means of the Relievos, availability and accessibility of the works of art can be enhanced, which gives the museum the opportunity to realize its mission to inspire and enrich as large an audience as possible. Besides, viewers will now be able to come up close to a Van Gogh painting, even touching it. This opens up different perspectives, among them the use of the reproductions for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired
The Relievo collection is on display at Gallery by the Harbour in Hong Kong from 16 July to 4 August 2013.”