Visual artwork sizes in a virtual gallery

Since our humble beginnings, it’s been possible to enter the dimensions for an artwork (height and width). However, we’ve never done much with that information other than list it on the artwork page. This past weekend, I added a feature I’ve had in mind for a long time – showing the artwork size in a visual way. Now on the Detail page for any artwork with a height and width, there is a tab called “Artwork size” (artworks without both dimensions do not show this tab). If you click that tab you’ll see the artwork in a virtual gallery:

Of course to get a sense of scale, you need a reference. So, we’ve added some silhouettes of people to the scene (from the wonderful all-silhouettes.com). The man in the scene above is scaled at six feet tall.

We have a big range of artwork sizes in The Athenaeum, from enormous Renaissance frescoes to tiny drawings. So we the Detail page “smart” enough to pick the right scale for the artwork in question. Here’s what it looks like for a very small artwork:

And here’s a very large artwork which you should recognise:

Of course, this all depends on having the correct dimensions entered into the database. At the time of writing, we have 62,067 artworks with dimensions entered, and 40,742 without. Having that information for 60% of the art in such a big database is better than I would have guessed.

We still have a few tweaks to make (getting scale indicators onto all of the background images), but I’m very happy with the results. To my knowledge, no other web site does this. I can imagine other ways to use it as well – maybe when comparing two artworks (an upcoming feature), or showing several artworks together when we know they are in the same room of a museum.

Let us know your thoughts, and feel free to add artwork dimensions when you see they are missing!

Artworks can now be tagged

We have added tagging functionality to the artwork pages. On the main page for an artwork (not the full image display, but the “Detail” page), you can go to the Social tab and click the “Tag this artwork” link. A window will pop up allowing you to tag the artwork.

We get a lot of spam attempts on The Athenaeum, so tags must be verified by another user before they will show up. You can verify tags entered by other members of the site in the same section where you add tags. If there are unverified tags, they will show up automatically.

With the advent of tagging, we can now give you a page to display artworks by tags as well, so that has been added to the front page of the site.

The tags and tag categories are set by the site administrators. Right now we have tags for Greek and Roman mythology, but we’ll be adding more – literature, Christian iconography, and so on. Let us know if there are categories or tags you think we should make available.