Normally, I’d think it was silly to take 3D photos of paintings. Okay, so maybe it might be cool to see the texture and brushstrokes of an oil painting, but for the most part I avoid taking 3D photos of flat objects. However, with a work like Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry, 27 murals painted on the walls of the main court of the Detroit Institute of Arts more or less on the subject of Ford’s gigantic Rouge factory complex in Dearborn, it makes sense. Edsel Ford commissioned Rivera to do a painting and the artist insisted that he’d have to be able to cover all of the walls of the court or he wouldn’t take the job. As such, it’s almost impossible to fully appreciate the murals separate from their location.
Stereo vision gives us depth and shape but it also gives us a sense of space. By seeing the Rivera murals in their dedicated three dimensional space we get a better idea of not only the size and scope of the work but also we get to see the works in the same perspective, literally, as the artist intended.
Speaking of perspective, one of the features of the murals in Detroit Industry is how Rivera uses perspective to give us a sense of the massive scale of the Rouge plant. One can spend hours getting lost in all of the detail in the paintings’ many layers.