Ballast Lane applications has recently created an Ipad application based on the book written by former Met director Thomas Hoving.

Created by Larry Ernhardt of Marblehead, MA, this application transforms Hoving’s book “Master Pieces: A Curator’s Game” into a digital format, allowing the user to not only have access to all of the book’s content, but to also have a ability to play three different games based on the techniques addressed in Hoving’s book.

The application features 54 different Masterpieces from Caravaggio to Boston’s own John Singer Sargent, and 220 cutouts from these paintings.  There are three possible games that can be played:  “Study then Guess”, “Match Three Details”, and “Guess The Artist.”  Ernhardt referred to the three games as “Intro, Junior Varsity, and Varsity” levels, emphasizing the game’s ability to be accessible to people of all ages.  Despite having taken many Art History classes in college, I even found myself struggling at points during the game!

The Ipad is the perfect piece of technology for this application, allowing for smooth and easy zooming on details, the potential to easily flip back and forth between interesting paintings, and a fun game format that wouldn’t be possible in a physical book.  Also notable are Hoving’s essays he personally penned for the book.  As director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1967 – 1977, Hoving was known for “shaking up the Met,” increasing the accessibility of the Museum and acquiring numerous key pieces that would draw much larger crowds than the Museum had in the past.

Thomas Hoving’s writings on artworks are likewise highly lauded.  The essays featured in Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game are creatively written, incorporating humorous facts and details about each Master and the trials and tribulations that went into the creation of each painting.  Add to that the extremely high quality images and your morning commute to work just got 800 times better than a facebook newsfeed.

While the original book was $19.99, the Ipad app is only $4.99, making it a great deal for anyone who has a genuine interest in learning about art or introducing a family member to the magic of art history.  You can purchase the application on the Itunes App Store.


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