What’s the big deal about touring the Brooks in 3D?

Membership Manager Dr. Genevieve Hill-Thomas explains how 3-D glasses are relevant to the museum’s permanent collection.

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Dr. Stanton Thomas gives his stereoscopic analysis

Since American Paper Optics was kind enough to donate 3D glasses to the museum, what else could we do but organize a member’s tour through the permanent collection that uses these optical devices? Gimmicky? Perhaps. Ironic? Definitely! Regardless, we’ll explore the science of art and optics throughout history, from the Renaissance to present day.

Although 3-D shades seem like a new thing, or at least new since the 1950s, complementary color (red-cyan) anaglyph glasses, or 3-D glasses, actually were invented in 1852 by Wilhelm Rollmann in Leipzig, Germany.[i]  Yep, 1852, not 1952. Rollman realized that the human brain uses stereoscopic processing to compile two distinct images from each eye.  Materials for 3-D viewing are printed as two overlapping images corresponding to the perspective of each eye, each using contrasting colors (such as red and cyan). They are superimposed upon each other so that when the proper filters are placed over each eye, your mind combines them in a manner so that you perceive depth.  Of course, these types of images are specially designed to be used with anaglyph glasses—something that is not true of most art in major metropolitan art museums.

So what’s the point of wandering through the galleries with 3D glasses? Continue reading