“Artwork of the Week” celebrates its 100th post!

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Martí Casas

Do you know about ‘Artwork of the Week’? It is a digital initiative of the Friends of the Museu Nacional: a weekly pleasant entry to explore the works in our museum’s various collections.

Last month, the entries posted on the Friends’ webpage reached a magic number: 100. To celebrate, we would like to tell you in a little more detail about how this initiative came about.

Pierre-Louis Laideguive

Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Pierre-Louis Laideguive, circa 1761

La Trini

Ramon Casas, Trini, 1916

Un casament

Olga Sacharoff, A wedding, 1919-1923

How did the idea come about?

Since the end of 2014, as a professional associated with the Friends, I have been writing and publishing the articles for the ‘Artwork of the Week’ that are posted every week on the Museu Nacional’s official Twitter and Facebook profiles. Since April 2016, these texts have also been posted on the webpage of the Friends of the Museu Nacional, in order to give greater diffusion and visibility to the content, making it available to everybody on a platform where it can be consulted whenever anyone wishes to.

The aim is to offer periodic diffusion of the museum’s collections so that the public can get to know not just the most famous works, the highlights that everyone identifies with the Museu Nacional, but also less well known pieces that are masterpieces too.

How are the artworks chosen?

The choice of the work of art that will be featured each week might seem arbitrary, but it is not. As an initiative that is part of the Museu Nacional’s digital strategy, it is perfectly planned. At the beginning of each quarter, the Friends send a detailed proposal of the works that it has considered for publication each week over the next three months to the Department of Strategy and Digital Innovation. This initial list is discussed by the two teams and a definitive list is drawn up based on everyone’s assessments and contributions.

The artworks of the week are chosen according to two main criteria:

  • As far as possible, the pieces chosen can be related to the museum’s or the Friends’ activities taking place that same week. In this way, the publication of the work on the networks can be taken advantage of to publicize them and invite people to take part. If there is no activity planned, an attempt is made to link the work to general anniversaries on those days: special festivities, changes of season, notable historical events, and so on.
  • The works chosen during the three-month period should be a good reflection of the different techniques, styles and periods to be found in the museum’s collection. The aim is to make the list of pieces as varied as possible, including examples of all the arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, precious metalwork, numismatics, photography, furniture making, etc.) and from all periods (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, modern art).

The top ten artworks viewed on the Friends’ webpage

  1. Work of the week 4: Pierre Louis de Laideguive, by Maurice Quentin de la Tour
Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Pierre-Louis Laideguive, circa 1761

Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Pierre-Louis Laideguive, circa 1761

  1. Work of the week 16: La Trini, by Ramon Casas
Ramon Casas, Trini, 1916

Ramon Casas, Trini, 1916

  1. Work of the week 84: A Wedding, by Olga Sacharoff
Olga Sacharoff, A wedding, 1919-1923

Olga Sacharoff, A wedding, 1919-1923

  1. Work of the week 3: Apse from Santa Eulàlia d’Estaon
Apse of Estaon, Mid-12th century

Apse of Estaon, Mid-12th century

  1. Work of the week 26: Entrance to the Park of the Moulin de la Galette, by Santiago Rusiñol
  1. Work of the week 96: The Botanist, by Marià Fortuny
The Botanist

Marià Fortuny, The Botanist, circa 1868-1869

  1. Work of the week 10: Desolation, by Josep Llimona
Josep Llimona, Desolation, 1907

Josep Llimona, Desolation, 1907

  1. Work of the week 11: Still Life #157, by Toni Catany
Toni Catany, Still life, 157 B, 1988

Toni Catany, Still life, 157 B, 1988

  1. Work of the week 92: Portrait of my Father, by Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí, Portrait of my Father, 1925

Salvador Dalí, Portrait of my Father, 1925

  1. Work of the week 71: The Bronze Age, by Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin, The Age of Bronze, 1876

Auguste Rodin, The Age of Bronze, 1876

Looking at the list, the thing that immediately catches the eye is that there are few outstanding works among the ten most consulted. We do find, of course, emblematic artists in the museum such as Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol, Marià Fortuny and Josep Llimona, and some internationally famous names, like Salvador Dalí and Auguste Rodin. But in most cases the works by these artists are not among the best known ones in the museum, except for Grief, and in the list we also find anonymous pieces and other little known artists, among whom Olga Sacharoff, one of the few female artists represented in the museum’s collection. All in all it is good news because it means that users are not only interested in the best-known, most emblematic pieces. Taking this ranking into account, then, the main goal of ‘Artwork of the Week’ is being achieved: to disseminate and increase the knowledge of pieces in the museum’s collection that are not so well known.

Secondly, it is also a good sign that there is such diversity of techniques, styles and periods in the list of the ten most visited works. The majority of them are easel paintings, to be sure, but there is also fresco painting, sculpture, photography and engraving. The breadth and variety of the material in the collections is one of the great assets of the Museu Nacional and it is important for the ‘Artwork of the Week’ to make it visible. Seeing the list, it can be said that this is another goal that is being achieved.

Finally, a third positive aspect to weigh up is the predominance of the oldest and the newest publications among the ten most consulted works. From this we may conclude, on one hand, that the publication of the ‘Artwork of the Week’ on the Friends’ webpage has gained viewers week after week, because among the most viewed works we find some that have been online for the least time. At the same time, the results of the ranking also suggest that the publication of the fact files of the works of the week on the Friends’ webpage, with a stable Internet address and presence, means that they stay on the network for longer. Hence there are also some of the first works posted among the ten most consulted.

And you? Did you know about the ‘Artwork of the Week’? Have you consulted it on the Friends’ webpage? Do you like the initiative? What do you think about it?

 

Martí Casas
Amics del Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

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