Just like the traditional museums, a virtual museum complements, enhances, or augments the experiences of a museum through digital interactivity, personalization, and abundance of content. A virtue museum may act independently or as a digital footprint of the physical museum provided it meets the requirements of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in the definition. Similar to a physical museum, a virtue museum commits to public access, prompt knowledge of the collections, the systematic and coherent display arrangement as well as long-term preservation of the piece of art. Virtue museums have increased popularity in the era of internet where people access sculptures, portraits and paintings in 3D environments or virtue reality.
The National Gallery of Art is notably one of the wealthiest databases available on the internet. The site gives a comprehensive description of sculptures, paintings, and any elements related to the available pieces. Despite the numerous exhibition open in the National Gallery of Art, the Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence are notably one of the most popular exhibits. The display boasts as the United States' first ever-monographic exhibition. The exhibition examines Andrea del Verrocchio's breadth and wealth of his artistry capability among his 50 masterpieces in drawing, painting and sculpture. One of the notable pieces is the Putto Poised on a Globe. The 1940 statue is made of unbaked clay with 75 x 38.3 x 23 cm dimensions. The plump cupid sculpture seems to spin winning attention from all sides. The boy's movement in space reveals untimely existence. The poise, standing with one leg and projecting arm, poses a remarkable presence over five hundred years intact bearing the nature of unfired clay. The pursed lips, an outstretched arm, rolled index and thumb fingers, as well as the puffed out cheeks, suggests a directed water stream that the child unleashes to touch or possibly a pinwheel toy. Similarly, by rotating the entire sculpture, the artist may have been describing a watering fountain. In my perspectives, Putto Poised on a Globe is one of the best pieces of art in a virtue museum.
The National Gallery of Art organizes different pieces of art in various categories. Once on the website, the visitor browses according to their interesting subject among a wide array of collections. These collections include sculptures, paintings, drawings, decorative arts, media arts and photographs. Every category contains numerous pieces depicting the history of different cultures and people. The website also enables search function whereby typing subject, artist, or any related content gives many results that the viewer may choose depending on their interests. Additionally, the National Gallery of Art provides various categories for faster access to the desired items as well as multiple actions on the website. For example, there are educational tabs where one may access a broad scope of knowledge about their exciting subjects. There are categories for families, children, teachers, adults, as well as professionals. Other navigations include the visit section, conservation, and calendar of events, support, shop, opportunities, press, notices, newsletters, images, videos, and audio. Such an organization of the website allow access to different subjects of interest within the virtue museum.
The National Gallery of Art contains exhibitions with appropriate formats of a virtue museum. Once a visitor lands on the museum's page, an introduction to the museum is available at home page. A few pieces of art with a brief description are also available. Such is the most searched or the newly uploaded ones. Even on the same page are the various categories of art in the exhibitions. Once the visitor identifies the relevant section to view art, one browses to see the available literature. Such a tour engages one with numerous shows and wit just a click, the piece goes to a new page where a detailed description of the art is given. If it is a sculpture such as the Poised on a Globe described above, a 3D function is enabled. The visitor sees art in various dimensions and magnifications as desired by using a mouse or navigating apparatus. Although the artistic works are correctly described with facts, the language used is not authentic. Early pieces in history use the same modern vocabulary as the 21st-century pieces. In my view, there should exist a language difference in different arts to show the poise of time they were created.
In the National Gallery of Art pieces of art on African history exists. However, these pieces remain scantly related to other cultures. Although the National Gallery of Art is located in Washington, it contains numerous works from a wide array of cultures. As such, I find the museum a bit biased. In case the museum only represented the American culture, famous pieces of foreign origin would be missing. I believe African contains numerous historical pieces of art that remain undocumented. Egypt seems to lead in the artefacts displayed within the National Gallery of Art, but other countries are under-represented. Such an observation proves as a potential area of research in African art.
Butterfield, A., Delaney, J. K., Dempsey, C., Hirschauer, G. A., Luchs, A., Melli, L., Verrocchio, A. del. (2019). Verrocchio, sculptor and painter of Renaissance Florence. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art. Princeton University Press, 2016.
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