Prado’s Museum App Lets Viewers See Underneath Its Masterpieces’ Paint

Prado’s Museum App Lets Viewers See Underneath Its Masterpieces’ Paint
Arts & Culture

Second Canvas lets people explore 14 of the museum's masterpieces at a highly detailed level.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 7 may 2014

There are many different ways of appreciating a painting. You can look at it from a comfortable distance to see the work of art in its entirety or step closer to observe exquisite details like brush strokes and texture. However, it may not always be possible to scrutinize a painting in detail in most museums since visitors can only get close to an art piece at a certain distance, especially if the piece is a very valuable masterpiece.

Now there’s a new app that lets users go deeper into some of the masterpieces at the Museo del Prado in Spain.

The museum has released an iOS app called Second Canvas Museo del Prado that lets users peer into the details of 14 of the masterpieces housed at the museum. The app was created in partnership with Madpixel and allows users to view the masterpieces at a very detailed level that used to be only experienced by curators and art restorers.

Second Canvas lets users zoom in on the paintings, as well as use the app’s x-ray and infrared vision functions to see the layers of paint, the construction underlying the canvases, and the even the artists’ sketches under all that color and paint. It helps people see details that may not be noticeable right away or things that they may not have noticed in the painting the first time they saw it.


The app lets users study 14 masterpieces in ultra HD and explore more than 60 related works of art. The app includes extra details about each masterpiece like links to additional info, an audio guide, and a sign language guide. Users can then share their art discoveries on Facebook, Twitter, and via email.

Second Canvas is available for the iPhone and iPad, but it can also be connected to a TV or a projector for a large screen viewing experience at home or at school.

The app doesn’t really replace the experience of actually seeing the paintings in person, but it creates a new way of appreciating and understanding the pieces. It is also a great way for those who can’t physically visit the museum to see what the museum has to offer.

The app can be downloaded from the iOS app store for $3.99.

Second Canvas
[h/t]: The Telegraph

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