For the exhibition “Cranach in Weimar” at Schiller Museum, we produced a digitally-edited replica of the Cranach Altarpiece. A digital image of the altarpiece was presented on an ultra-high resolution screen, inviting visitors to explore the work of art in unprecedented richness of detail. A control panel displayed background information on details selected in the image.
Cranach the Younger was one of the major German artists of the Renaissance and his important folding altarpiece of 1555 is in the Herderkirche in Weimar. The painting’s extremely detailed artistic motifs refer to a large number of different passages in the Bible. The numerous details can only be grasped by contemporary viewers with considerable effort, a great deal of prior knowledge, and certainly not at a viewing distance of several meters in the church.
The aim was to open up the original artwork to a wider, contemporary audience through a single highlight exhibit while providing a high-tech tool for discovering the richness of the features present in the folding altarpiece and its predella and pinnacle, which had different sides for religious feast-days or for everyday use.
To achieve the transfer of the medium, we made effective use of the available budget to combine high-resolution photography with the focus on an interactive, informative and educational approach.
Our collaboration on the approach to the content with the curator of the exhibition, Dr. Karin Kolb, opened up fresh perspectives both for visitors interested in the subject and also for academics and art-experts.
"We are very pleased with the success of the exhibition in terms of visitor numbers and positive feedback. Your media terminal about the church’s altarpiece in particular was specially praised again and again, with enthusiastic responses from every age group!"
One of the central aims was to consistently display the figures depicted in the painting at life-size using variable enlargement, thereby placing them in direct relation to the viewer.
The installation involves a touch application with real-time animations and a larger-than-life ultra-high resolution screen on which details from the digitally-edited altarpiece painting can be seen in extreme detail. We created an immersive total experience using skillful ergonomic arrangement of the media surfaces and spatial interaction areas.
This enables the visitor to use touch interaction to move up to 15 predefined image details and explore the altarpiece painting using smart snapping functions. This experience of intuitive interaction is linked to an augmented information level that provides descriptions of the pictorial elements, such as Martin Luther, Satan, and the crucifixion.
The dynamic and extremely enlarged display enabled us to create an educational approach that goes beyond traditional methods and provides a unique insight into Cranach’s altar. This modern high-tech implementation makes the 1555 masterpiece accessible in a way that perhaps only Cranach himself previously experienced.