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The Hermitage under a Magnifying Glass

Published 21 September 2020

The State Hermitage and the company ArtClub BV present the project “ Hermitage under a Magnifying Glass” which is destined to become an important milestone in the introduction of 3D models of artworks into the work of museums.

ArtClub BV is a company leading developments in the creation of technological solutions for collections of artworks, educational projects and online exhibitions.

One of the most famous museums in the world has within its walls some amazing collections, including works of decorative and applied art, pieces of jewellery, decorated arms and armour, elements of costume and utensils. Often these are not only masterpieces of astonishing perfection executed in the most exquisite of techniques, but also carry entire messages encoded in the ornamentation and the finest elements of their decoration. Such objects can only be truly understood when held in the hand – when the owner turned a chased bowl in the light or passed a carved dagger from hand to hand, intricate scenes would be revealed, coming together to tell a tale, myth or legend. Tiny netsuke figurines would start to tell their story only in the palm of a curious viewer’s hand, unhurriedly disclosing their secrets. All that can now be done virtually thanks to the “Hermitage under a Magnifying Glass” project. A 3D model not only conveys colour, shape, texture, patina and the smallest details of technique with photographic precision, but also provides the opportunity to rotate an object, to place it closer or further from the eye. The viewing of the models is accompanied by a commentary from Anna Savelyeva, keeper of the collection of Japanese art and head of the Far Eastern sector in the State Hermitage’s Department of the East. Invited experts with a world-ranking reputation also participated in the project.