If you’re into fine and classical art, then you are going to want to drop in to the Museum of Fine Arts in Second Life. I confess, I knew little of the museum prior to recently receiving an invitation from Tonem, the museum’s curator to pay them a visit, so I was delighted to be able to accept the offer and learn about the gallery.
Originally founded in Twinity in 2013, the museum moved to Second Life in 2015, where it is located on the Mainland continent of Jeogeot, occupying a palatial and very fitting château (the work of Kaya Angel) that provides 20 rooms of exhibition space, with a further annex to the rear.
The goal of the museum is to provide a non-profit educational facility displaying art from the physical world. Each piece presented in the exhibition spaces is a faithful photographic representation of the originating art, with care taken to ensure only pieces that reside in the public domain in their country of origin are reproduced, and that they free from known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.
When the group was founded  there was a debate on the kind of art to include. And the conclusion to not exhibit user created art was for three reasons: the difficulty of establishing provenance; the lack of expertise [at the time] regarding modern art in our group; and the fact that there are many, many art galleries in Second life presents in-world artists and photographers with the ability to display their work, but only a handful available for exhibiting fine and classical art from the physical world.
– Tonem, describing the background to the Museum
As an advocate for the presentation of suitable physical-world art through Second Life, the museum’s focus is something I approve. SL provides the means to create exhibitions that can bring together a wealth of established art from around the globe and present it to an audience in a manner impossible win the physical world without the need for what could amount to a lot of globe-trotting; while for the modern artist in the physical world, it offers the means to reach a global audience in a more immersive and personal manner than images on a web page.
This first point above is particularly true of the current exhibitions at the museum; there is no way on Earth the rich diversity of pieces offered could have been brought together by a single gallery in the physical world. Nor does it end there. Great lengths have been taken to ensure a visit to the Museum of Fine Art is as “real” as possible.
The two exhibitions currently in progress are German Art in the 19th Century, which represents the gallery’s main autumn / winter 2019 exhibit, and Marie Bracquemond One of the Grand Dames of Impressionism, running through until October 22nd, 2019. Each demonstrate the care taken in presenting the art in the museum: the images are correctly scaled one to the next, whilst each has its own information card, a-la a physical world museum. For those who prefer, images can also be left-clicked to have the information text displayed in local chat.
German Art in the 19th Century includes a wealth of introductory information in the museum’s foyer, and I recommend viewing it before progressing through the gallery’s halls. In all, some 34 German painters are represented, with over 200 individual pieces of art faithfully reproduced. The exhibit follows the evolution of German art from the romantic period (late 18th and early 19th centuries) through to the period of German Expressionism in the early 20th century. There is no set path through the exhibit, But given the volume of art, I would recommend setting aside time to genuinely appreciate it, as it has taken a lot of time and effort to pull things together, as Tonem notes:
Of course, because we can use almost anything in the public domain also makes it more of a challenge! The museum did a lot of small exhibits focusing on particular parts of movements or periods, but the didactic value seemed minimal. Something sweeping like this should be much more valuable to people learning about art – but it was a tremendous amount of work to bring it all together!
The exhibit celebrating the art of Marie Bracquemond can be found in the annex to the rear of the museum, on the Lindal Kidd terrace (Lindal is someone who over the years has leant support and assistance to the gallery).
Alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, Madame Bracquemond is regarded as one of les trois grandes dames of the French impressionist movement. This is a much smaller exhibit, as one might expect given the focus on a single artist, but the works offered within it are again presented with the same care to detail and scale. At the time of my visit, some finishing touches had yet to be made (including the introduction to the exhibition), but this shouldn’t put people off – should you want to find out about Marie Bracquemond, Google is your friend.
The Museum of Fine Arts is a gem of a gallery museum in Second Life, and I thoroughly recommend it to all who have an interest in physical world fine and classical art. I’d also like to thank Tonem for her time with me during my visit, and I look forward to returning in the future and writing about further exhibitions at the gallery.
- Museum of Fine Arts (Jieut, rated Moderate)