Mini-review: Microsoft City Art Search

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This appeared a while ago, but it recently got updated and we'd never covered it, so here goes. Plus I fancied a bit of culture - and then some. This first party tool and data set from Microsoft provides a visual guide to many important works of art around the world. True, it's not comprehensive and there's little away from major cities, but it's still of interest if you're visiting such and want to know where to go to appreciate the old masters...

From the Store description:

Search over 7,200 famous works of art around the world, and see which galleries and museums they are located in. Find your favorite artists' masterpieces, or if you're planning to visit a city, discover the must-see works of art. You can also have your Lock Screen update with a beautiful new artwork every day. Works on Windows 10 & 8.1 for Phone, PC, and Tablet.

Here's a walkthrough this rather nicely implemented application:

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

The nearest art to me is in London, 50 or so miles away? Oh well. I'm sure that's not true, but at least I can plan my next visit to the city! In each case, tapping on a location and work of art brings it up in a thumbnail...

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

Notice the 'HD' control, top right? Tap that and then wait while a high-def version of the painting is grabbed. Depending on the piece, the result can be very high resolution indeed, see the detail here after I've pinched to zoom right in...

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

Only five art galleries in London? Oh well, it's a lot better than nothing; One of City Art Search's party pieces is being able to cycle through nice works of art on your phone's lockscreen...

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

To accomplish this, you also need to set your lockscreen to show detailed status from the app - never mind that you can't then show status from whatever you were using before. It's all in the name of culture, you know....?

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

Top left on any art page is a 'W' control - short for Wikipedia, of course, with links to both artist and piece (as shown above, right).

Screenshot, City Art SearchScreenshot, City Art Search

In general, there are more pieces of art represented in the USA than elsewhere, but no doubt the database is being expanded - the About page shows that the data set was last updated only '3 days ago'. 

It's a lot of work (and fairly manual) to both capture and then manipulate and enter details of all this art into the online system, but this is a very worthwhile initiative. And completely free to you, the user. So well done to all concerned.

You can grab City Art Search here in the Store.

Source / Credit: Store