Lonely Planet Writer

‘Shazam for art’ app to launch across several major museums including the Louvre

A brand new smartphone app has been released that will allow users to scan artworks at major museums and receive instant art commentary directly onto their mobile device in return.

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Image by Shutterstock

The application, called Smartify, will launch across a number of major museums, including the Louvre in Paris, France and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the NetherlandsThe app’s co-founder, Thanos Kokkiniotis, has likened the programme to music discovery platform Shazam, which helps a person build their music collection by listening to tunes and recognising the song’s artist and title. As well as saving their favourite paintings, the app will alert users to similar works or pieces by the same artist at any nearby museums.

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Speaking about the app to Alphr, Kokkiniotis said, ‘it’s about building up personal taste and a collection from different experiences, in a similar way one does with music on Spotify.’ Smartify will officially launch across a number of art institutions in May, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, USA and the Wallace Collection in London, which houses paintings by Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt, among many others.

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An increasing number of museums are already offering smartphone apps as cultural institutions begin the digitalisation of their collections. Artists and curators offer insight into the exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City through their app, while the Guggenheim Museum app holds information on more than 1600 works in its collection.

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However, not everybody is as thrilled with the new technology. Speaking about visitors using smartphones in museums, Kevin Walker at the Royal College of Art in London told the New Scientist magazine, ‘many visitors go to museums to have an unplugged experience.’ Walker also argued that app users should have faith in a museum’s curator who he believes are the ‘experts in experience.’
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