Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wikipedia loves art

I love art. I love the Metropolitan Museum. So when I found out about Wikipedia Loves Art, in which volunteers during the month of February were asked to take pictures of art and objects in several U.S. museums and then upload them to Flickr for worldwide use, I jumped into a taxi with my Canon digital camera to participate. The project's purpose: to use the jpgs, gifs and whatevers to eventually illustrate Wikipedia articles about art.

The instructions--no flash allowed--for the Metropolitan asked for images reflecting Valentine's Day or to highlight the museum's Greek and Roman, Medieval, Africa, Oceana and Americas and Arms and Armor collections. They framed it as a treasure hunt.

Normally, when I go to the Met, I go to major exhibitions and rarely walk through the galleries. But this time, I meandered through the building to find objects that showed kisses, Venus, hearts, or the color red to honor the suggested Valentine's Day theme. I thought it would be a snap. Here was a Venus. Here was a wedding plaque. Here was a cupid.

Not so easy to capture the love objects. The pieces either were too small to be photographed in ambient light or too close to other things to make a nice shot. So I dejectedly went on a hunt for better lit and larger works. My first paydirt was the gold in the Americas wing. South American funerary masks glittered. Then there was the Olmec and Maya pottery. The picture above shows one of my successes. Here are some others. February is not over yet. I hope to go back and shoot some more art at the Met soon.

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