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CMA Thinker

Art from All Angles

3D Models for the CMAs 3rd Anniversary of Open Access

By Haley Kedziora, CMA Digital Project Manager

Three years ago, more than 30,000 artworks in the CMA’s collection became available to the public when the museum waived copyright to images of artworks offering unrestricted access so that anyone can reuse, remix, and reimagine the objects. Every year, we add to this Open Access collection. It has expanded to approximately 40,000 artworks, increasing possibilities for discovery, creativity, and close looking.

You may have noticed the CMA’s artworks in the first Meta commercial and on TV shows; artists have even used them to create new artworks. In addition, our Open Access API and GitHub Repository are valuable tools for developers and have allowed us to create and offer two more applications; ArtLens AI and ArtLens for Slack.

Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo, 1908. Henri Rousseau (French, 1844–1910). Oil on fabric; framed: 183 x 203 x 4.5 cm; unframed: 170 x 189.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of the Hanna Fund 1949.186

The 3-D models in the CMA’s collection are captured using a technique called photogrammetry. Each object goes through a series of overlapping photographs — taken from multiple angles — which is then fed into a 3-D software program to produce the model. While some objects are photographed in the galleries or conservation labs, most are brought into the CMA’s photo studio and photographed on customized turntables.

Navigating to 3-D objects in Collection Online

At the CMA, we aim to push the boundaries of digital innovation, which is why we have added another handful of favorites to the growing list of 3-D models to mark this year’s third anniversary. Take a peek at these six new models and find the others in Collection Online:

The Stargazer

This marble sculpture is a beloved visitor favorite. Dating to 3000 BC, it is one of the oldest objects in the CMA’s collection. The enigma of its original purpose and the figure’s subtle features have captured the attention of many museumgoers. Due to it’s shape, it cannot stand without support. However, with the 3-D model, you can view it from every possible angle by spinning, flipping, and turning it.

The Stargazer

Armor for Horse and Man

A knight and horse ride through the center of the armor court at the museum. It’s a spectacle in person, but if you want to get really close without being stopped by a gallery guard, zoom in on the 3-D model to see the ornate etched decoration, including the seven appearances of the coat of arms.

Armor for Horse and Man

Nataraja

A highly celebrated sculptural form in Indian art, this bronze depiction of Shiva is rich with detail and symbolism. From the flame cupped in his left hand, to the positioning of his lower left hand, the iconography of this sculpture is laden with meaning. Explore each hand gesture and learn more about its significance. Don’t be like the figure personifying ignorance that Shiva is stepping on; squash the unfamiliarity and look closer at this exceptional bronze figure.

Nataraja

Pair Of Guardian Kings (Nio)

These carved wooden sculptures would have stood guard on either side of a temple entrance. They symbolize life and death, respectively. Explore these protectors side by side or separately, open mouthed and closed, by accessing their individual set records.

Pair Of Guardian Kings (Nio)

Stele with Sakyamuni and Bodhisattvas

Fans of our Live Open Access Dashboards, which recently gained buzz on Twitter when retweeted by Harald Klinke might recognize this as the most viewed artwork from the CMA on Wikipedia. Since 2019 it has had more than 9 million views and counting. The back of this stele has an inscription detailing its commission and corroborating its fine craftsmanship. See if you can spot it on the Wikipedia page.

Stele with Sakyamuni and Bodhisattvas

Vessel with Battle Scene

This Maya ceramic vessel is decorated with slip illustrating with warriors, some who wear battle regalia. This vessel was used to consume a spicy chocolate drink, quite unlike the powdered hot chocolate mix you might find at the grocery store, but still likely to warm you up after a romp in the snow. This one is no longer used with its original intent, and you can check for yourself. Peer into the now empty vessel to see the texture of the ceramic walls, or decipher the hieroglyphs that surround the outer rim.

Vessel with Battle Scene

Find these objects and more in the CMA’s Open Access collection. With approximately 40,000 artworks at your fingertips, what will you create?

Special thanks to those who have contributed and collaborated in support of CMA’s Open Access Policy, extending our mission to create transformative experiences through art, “for the benefit of all the people forever.” into the 21st century.
Neal Stimler, Consulting Executive Advisor, Balboa Park Online Collective.
Thomas Flynn, Cultural Heritage Lead & Community, Sketchfab
Dale Utt III, Photogrammetry Specialist and 3-D Artist, True Edge Archive

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