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ERIC Number: EJ793883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Layers of Seeing and Seeing through Layers: The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Imagery
Ruby, Louisa Wood
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v42 n2 p51-56 Sum 2008
In consulting on or creating a Web site designed to use works of art for teaching purposes, it is extremely important to be aware of the differences between seeing an artwork "in the flesh" and in reproduction. Museum educators are highly aware of this disparity and are therefore eager to have students visit museums to experience authentic works of art instead of seeing them only in books, slides, or on Web sites. Already in 1936, Walter Benjamin called attention to the drawbacks of reproductions; his words resonate all the more in the age of digital image overload. Easy access to images is, of course, desirable, and advanced technologies can even aid in the understanding of a work of art. Nonetheless, the physical experience of standing in front of a work of art can never be replicated by seeing it on a flat screen or a piece of paper. In this article, the author examines the advantages, disadvantages, differences, and similarities between looking at a Web-based image of a Rembrandt painting, a photograph of a Rembrandt painting, and actually standing in front of one of his original works. She also discusses the more advanced technologies for examining paintings and how they can help people "see" further into a work of art and increase our understanding of it. (Contains 3 figures and 5 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A