Pharos will become a great trove for art enthusiats.
Digital art archives, says Thomas Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, are “Sleeping Beauties, and they are waiting to be discovered and kissed.” It’s an odd metaphor, especially since the archive to which Gaehtgens refers currently contains photographic treasures like that of Medieval Christian art from the Netherlands Institute for Art History. But soon, Pharos, the “International Consortium of Photo Archives,” will host 25 million images, Ted Loos reports at The New York Times, “17 million of them artworks and the rest supplemental material.” The archive aims to have 7 million online by 2020.
Pharos is the joint effort of 14 different institutions, including the Getty and the Frick, the National Gallery of Art, the Yale Center for British Art, Rome’s Bibliotheca Hertziana, the Courtauld Institute, and more. Eventually “users will be able to search the restoration history of the works, including different states of the same piece over time… past ownership; and even background on related works that have been lost or destroyed.” As Artnet puts it, “art history just got a lot more accessible.”