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National Gallery paintings in superb detail on your iPhone

Issued: June 2009

The National Gallery is the first ever gallery to make its paintings accessible through a downloadable iPhone application, making it possible to take a mini tour of the Gallery anywhere in the world.

The Gallery, in partnership with Antenna Audio and Apple Inc., has designed a new application for iPhones and iTouch devices that enables people to explore a sample of the collection while they’re on the move. Designed to appeal to art enthusiasts and fans of the Gallery, this application is the first of its kind to be released by a major gallery.

This Pentimento application, called Love Art, features 250 paintings from the collection along with around 200 minutes of audio and video content, including interviews with National Gallery Director Dr Nicholas Penny, dramatist Robin Brooks, artist Maggie Hambling and Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier.

Making use of special iPhone features such as its large touch-screen, zoom, Rolodex and scrollable menus, Love Art offers a playful exploration of the collection, together with informative commentaries.

The paintings are showcased to the best advantage using high-resolution images on the iPhone’s excellent-quality screen. Due to a tactile interface the experience gained through this application is not only highly enjoyable, but also lets you zoom in to see details that are often missed.

Building on the collection’s universal themes such as love, passion, death and beauty, the Rolodex feature allows the random selection of a theme and provides access to stories about the paintings, told via video and audio commentary.

Love Art also boasts 12 thematic ‘galleries’, in which users can explore a greater selection of paintings grouped by popular themes or types such as portraits, cityscapes and religious paintings.

The application sits alongside the Gallery’s other audio content including its audio tours and popular monthly podcast series.

Dr Nicholas Penny said, ‘The National Gallery is delighted to be involved with Antenna in such an exciting and ground-breaking project. We look forward to working with Antenna in expanding the application further and reaching new publics.’

Sarah Dines, Managing Director, Antenna Audio said,

‘We're really proud to have created such a beautiful application that allows people to experience one of the greatest collections of masterpieces in the world in totally new and exciting ways. This application is a major step forward in our efforts to reach new audiences on new platforms’

Love Art can be downloaded from Apple’s online iTunes Store, one of the world’s leading sites for downloading audio content. For a short time only it is available free of charge.

For further press information please contact:

The National Gallery
Eloise Maxwell on 020 7747 2420 or email

Notes to Editors

The National Gallery
The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of Western European paintings from the late thirteenth to the early twentieth century. No other collection possesses such consistent quality, nor better tells the story of Western European painting.

The collection belongs to the nation and serves a diverse public from the UK and overseas. It is open to all, 361 days of the year, free of charge. Between 4 and 5 million people visit the National Gallery each year. Almost all of the 2,300 paintings in the National Gallery’s collection are on permanent display.

The collection represents the greatest Western European painters including van Eyck, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Rembrandt, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Rubens, Velázquez, Van Dyck, Titian and Bellini. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors.

Antenna Audio
For more than 20 years, Antenna Audio has been the leading provider of audio and audio-visual interpretation to museums, exhibitions, historic sites and visitor attractions around the world. Today it distributes more than 20 million tours every year and have a network of 16 offices around Europe, North America and Asia, currently employing around 350 full time staff.

Pentimento is Antenna Audio’s new art application for consumer mobile devices. It combines software and digital media assets to create new and innovative ways to experience art. Pentimento allows users to access content through item lists such as artworks or artists, by theme such as period, emotion or movement or by gallery views.

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