Purveyor. Not of goods, but of good ideas

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Museum tricks

I spent the day today at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, wondering why such places have yellowish lighting. Is it to protect something? Or are the curators colorblind?

I also noticed myself doing something I've done habitually and subconsciously in museums for years; why I suddenly became aware of it now I have no idea.

While stepping up to a sizable painting to examine one of its faces more closely, I moved my head in slightly, then back again. Due to the difference in how the light struck the surface of the canvas from different angles, I was able to alternate my view of the painting between seeing the image the artist intended, and seeing the brush stroke texture underlying (overlaying?) the image. While seeing one, the other was completely obscured. It was like switching between the positive and the negative, the technique and the result. It was also a lot like those prizes I used to find in boxes of Cracker Jacks. Let's just call it a lenticular moment. Highly recommended.


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