Robert Scoble ran into GalleryPlayer in the Redmond Library yesterday. It's a (Windows-only) service for displaying HD art and photography on your HDTV display. The Gallery Player folks have licensed an impressive collection of images from Life, the New York Times, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.
But everything in GalleryPlayer is cropped to fit the 16:9 ratio of a widescreen TV. Gee, if only the photographers and painters had known at the time they might have taken better care to frame everything they did at 16:9.
If you hate pan-and-scan on widescreen movies, you'll file GalleryPlayer in the same "not-on-my-TV" folder.
Here's what GP does to the Mona Lisa:
Now let's look at it in what home theatre buffs call OAR--original aspect ratio. And let's change out the brushed aluminum TV frame for the one hanging in the Louvre.
That's a completely different piece of art from the one distributed by PictureGallery.
I'm disappointed that oranizations such as the Met and the Louvre have so little concern for curatorial duty as to license cropped versions of the art in their collections. Guess we're all scrambling for a business model these days.
Look, if the old MGM studio could pretend that the movie business was "art for art's sake," in Latin no less, then I guess the Louvre can do art for a quick buck.
Not that I'm a Mona Lisa purist by any means. In the age of Mash-ups, you can bring me the head--and only the head--of Mona Lisa if you want.
But if you're gonna screw around with Lisa at all, you'd better come up to the level of Mona Gorilla as painted by Rick Meyerowitz in 1971 for National Lampoon. I'm a proud owner of a print, given to me by Neal Stulberg, who was probably glad to be rid of it.
The story behind the painting.