For the summer of 2018, the Norman Rockwell Museum debuted one its largest exhibitions on record, “Keepers of the Flame: Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition”.
The brainchild of illustrator, author, and teacher, Dennis Nolan, the exhibition traced the student to teacher lineage of three Golden Age illustrators to their artistic forbearers in the Italian Renaissance.
Paintings intended for a broad clientele, whether church or state, private collectors or public entities, transcend their original purpose through the art of visual storytelling, which is the heart of contemporary illustration.
The size and scope of the exhibition was unprecedented with over 75 pieces of art from 40 lenders in addition to works of art held by the Norman Rockwell Museum collection.
Although the paintings on view filled nearly half of the museum’s galleries, it was impractical to consider showing representative works of all 72 artists in this lineage dating back more than 500 years.
The Norman Rockwell Museum’s Digital team worked with Dennis and the Museum’s Curatorial staff to design a colossal digital interactive experience that portrayed not only all 72 artists but also more than 350 works of art in ultra high definition.
Installed on an 86-inch Dell touchscreen, this experience portrays a family tree of sorts illustrated by Dennis Nolan depicting the unbroken chain of artists from Neri Di Bicci in in the 15thcentury all the way up to Norman Rockwell in the 20thcentury.
Artists portrayed in the interactive include Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Gerome, Bouguereau, Delaroche, Anshutz, Eakins, Bridgeman, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell.
Up to 4 users could explore the interactive simultaneously, and over the course of the nearly 5 months that the exhibition was on view, more than 40,000 patrons accessed the interactive’s content, representing nearly 97% utilization during the Museum’s hours of operation.