June 2nd, 2009

zoom1 Let’s be frank, since the internet began to reach out in the 1990s, the fine art community has made little headway on the web. Art with a capital “A” lags and it lags badly. Serious monographic sites of great artists are exceedingly rare and art collections and institutions are dutifully present but, save exceptions, not much more.

One area where progress is being made is in digital imagery. Major collections and museums are slowly but surely presenting their finest works with various Flash applications such as Zoomify allowing the viewer to scan with ease over good quality images. Some are carefully tucked away where the average viewer will never chance.

Obviously, we cannot expect to experience the impact of a work of art from the computer monitor no matter how high the image’s resolution may be. But zoom-viewing permits close-quarter, detailed observation that can provide its own pleasures and food for thought. Most importantly, considering that we will never, ever in our lives see 99% of these pictures where they are physically housed, high-quality, internet zooms constitute an illuminating resource and not merely eye candy for the curious.

The following Zooming-in columns  will report some of the most interesting zooms on the net, with hopefully, some interesting comments.

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