Klimt gets 21st-century makeover with iPads, apps

Jul 12, 2012
A woman uses an iPad with information on Austrian artist Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna.

Vienna's Belvedere Museum is giving Gustav Klimt a 21st-century makeover even as he turns 150, with smartphones, iPads and tablet computers now guiding the visitor... even beyond the museum's doors.

The Belvedere launched Thursday a new Klimt app, along with a new exhibit, to help visitors enter the artist's world.

A touch of the finger brings up information about a given painting and a short video of the place he depicted or a key location related to it: from the Attersee lake where Klimt spent his summers to Venice's Basilica San Marco, whose byzantine style inspired his "Golden Period."

A free Gustav Klimt world map, downloadable on the Internet, meanwhile lists the main stops in his life, all over Europe, with pictures of the places he visited and the paintings he created in that location.

The -powered app even gives directions to each of the sights, from his grave in Vienna to a gallery in London where he once displayed his works.

The use of apps, the first ever by an Austrian state museum, will "provide a new, continuous experience far beyond the visit to the museum and the exhibit," according to the Belvedere.

QR codes also help visitors decipher Klimt's scribbled and hardly legible love letters, now on show for the first time.

"We need to find new ways to present art," curator Alfred Weidinger told journalists Thursday at a preview of the new exhibit.

The only risk could be that visitors will now spend more time absorbed by the stylish and interactive apps than contemplating the art inside this former baroque palace.

The Belvedere inaugurated Thursday a comprehensive new Klimt exhibit with 120 paintings, drawings, letters and other memorabilia, ahead of the artist's 150th birthday on July 14.

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