Mark Harden's Artchive: CD-ROM Reviews

Mark Harden's Artchive CD-ROM Reviews: The Hermitage 2000 The Hermitage 2000

Published by NDE Publishing/NDE Media and can be ordered by phone at

Warning: this is a DVD-ROM and WILL NOT RUN ON A CD-ROM DRIVE!

This product was designed for the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and features the greatest works from its outstanding West European collection. A unique aspect is the 3-D Virtual Museum interface, which includes 25 rooms that you can "walk" through to view the works, using pan and zoom capabilities. The art is presented in correct proportion on the walls, and as you approach, you can access the detail and textual/audio information about the work.

For those who are less virtual reality-minded, there is an extensive cross reference scheme. The works can be accessed through 75 different tours which are based on chronological, geographical or stylistic themes. The index also allows quick access to specific works or artists.

Since it is a DVD with much more storage space, Intersoft has been able to include much more audio and video than you have come to expect on art CD-ROMs. There is a thirty-minute movie on the palaces of the Hermitage, and extensive audio throughout.

I found a couple of shortcomings. First, the somewhat limited selection of 310 works is just a taste of the vast collection of one of the world's greatest museums. In addition, the image quality is not very sharp. Even though the DVD allows deep zoom, the images are disappointingly fuzzy. The colors are quite vibrant, however.

I would especially recommend this DVD for anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting the Hermitage in person and wants a virtual reminder of the experience, or for someone planning an upcoming trip.

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