Given the news — and excitement — about the expansion of the Google Art Project this week, I thought I’d mention another, related venture. It’s different but shares some of the same goals. It’s Wikipaintings.
It’s a non-profit, like Wikipedia, and it’s trying to become the “most complete and well-structured online repository of fine art. We hope to make classical art a little more accessible and comprehensible, and also want to provide a new form of interaction between contemporary artists and their audience. In the future we plan to cover the entire history of art — from cave artworks to the new talents of today.”
The people behind Wikipaintings don’t identify themselves, but I think the project is based — or was started — in Russia, based on the most-viewed artists and the selections. Then again, that changes — when I looked just now, there didn’t seem to be a Russian bias. Whoever the founders are, they created a Facebook page on April 8, 2011, so I’d guess it started about that time. Here’s what they say in “About.”
I’ve explored a little — searching artists by name, movement, century, etc. Visitors can also search by art work — style, genre, technique, etc. But I haven’t spend enough time to know how useful Wikipaintings will be or how it stacks up against all the other art image banks.
So I will refer you to someone who has: Wikipaintings was briefly reviewed, favorably, by a blog on The Teaching Palette last November, by one Theresa McGee, who compared it to the Google Art Project:
I still love Google Art Project for the amazing depth and detail, but Wikipaintings is much better for understanding and visualizing the growth of an artist through his or her lifetime. I look forward to seeing how Wikipaintings grows once it is open to contributors; maybe it will even expand beyond 2-D work into sculpture and installation art.
And it’s still in beta.
Photo Credit: Magritte’s Listening Room, drawn from the Wikipaintings site