Orsay Demo

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This is a none-interactive video demo of the Musée d'Orsay CD-ROM for Windows. This is a virtual tour of Le Musée D'Orsay in Paris, France.

Jean Lenihan writes "The artistic, detail-driven team that assembled this glorious CD-ROM of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris remembers what a visit to an inspirational art museum is supposed to be like. Linger in rooms for hours. Peer as close as you want to the crisply rendered artwork, learning a hefty chunk about the work's creator and its social context as you ogle its form and colour. There's no noise or jostling from crowds, no closing time or additional fees for special exhibits. The experience of travelling through this CD-ROM is both so realistic (in its display of the galleries' art and interiors) and so enhanced (with mood-setting, period-correct music; helpful critiques and biographies; and the chance to blow up painting details) that you'll leave with a sense of wonderment and appreciation about art history that isn't always guaranteed when you pay a visit to most real museums these days.

While there has been some controversy about the success of the museum's 1986 renovation of the Gare d'Orsay train station, there is no dispute over the splendours of the Impressionist-centred collection housed there, and this CD-ROM does it full justice. The program's at-a-glance interface beautifully dissects and displays the artistic movements that led to and departed from Impressionism, then entices you to explore each stylistic era deeply. Run your cursor over one of the dozen categories, and you'll see a sample of its style in the centre window; click to enter the gallery itself, and you'll see all the paintings at once, with a concise description of the period set against powerful theme-setting music. (The "Symbolism" collection, for example, features a crisp sound clip of Debussy's La Mer.) The most famous face in the whole collection is Manet's tide-turning Olympia; there are also strong examples of the particular artistry of Ingres, Delacroix, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Rodin, van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and more. (Heads up, parents: Courbet's luminous, long-hidden The Origin of the World--a close-up of female genitalia--is displayed here, too.) The full collection depicts works from 1835-1920.

The chance to blow up areas of the painting--and thus alter your spatial relationship to the work--makes this a much more three-dimensional, museum-going experience than is possible with an art book or video. No matter how many reproductions you've seen of Monet's water lilies or van Gogh's portraits, you'll see them differently on this CD-ROM."