New tricks for old masters

What’s the connection between fine art and digital technologies? The University’s Kirk Martinez has been telling me about his years of work with the world’s most famous art galleries such as the Uffizi, the National Gallery and the V&A. His quest has been to find ways of producing the best-possible images of artworks through sophisticated scanning technology.

It all started in 1989 with the aptly-named VASARI project. “Museum staff are enthusiasts for this kind of technology as they want accurate images with perfect reproductions of colour,” he says “They can also use the images in high quality art books and to make prints to sell.” People can also search the digital records of artworks to match items or seek similarities between artists or designers.

Up to now, Kirk has been involved in nine projects connected to cultural heritage, many financed by EU grants. The latest, ARCOMEM aims to collect messages from social media and create new archives of memories.