The motif is nearly 500 years old, but it is better known throughout the world than almost any other image from a work of art: the two famous cheeky cherubs on Raphael’s painting “The Sistine Madonna” produced in 1512/13. Today, this work is the most prominent painting in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Everyone knows these cute little angels; they are attractive vehicles for advertising all over the world and they have long since taken on a life of their own.
The cherubs are present everywhere you go, both around the real world and in the online community of “Second Life”. Now the best renditions of them are being sought. Whether the competition entrants have created the images themselves or found them as curious examples, the organisers are in quest of the most beautiful, original or enigmatic presentations of Raphael’s cherubs, as products of either the real or the virtual world. This new “Dresden Gallery” community project is set to be launched on 31 July 2009 at the GAMES CONVENTION ONLINE in Leipzig, the world’s first trade fair for internet and mobile phone games.
The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are the first museum association in the world to have replicated a complete museum in Second Life. The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister has been reproduced one to one in Second Life, with all 56 rooms and cabinets open round the clock, and with all 750 works of art on display. Not only is there an audio-guide and an exhibition shop, just as in the Semper Building at the Zwinger, but recently a virtual community called “Friends of Dresden Gallery” has been established.
As part of a project entitled “Uncover the second life of the Dresden Cherubs – Assemble the best for an exhibition”, this community is now calling for examples of the cherubs to be collected and new works of art to be produced or new products to be designed featuring the cherubs, and for these to be presented on the homepage of the “Friends of Dresden Gallery” at www.dresdengallery.ning.com
(by 31 October 2009). If they like, entrants may also write about their cherubs, such as where and how they found them or what the idea is behind their own new design.
The most original contributions will be selected by a jury consisting of art historians and advertising specialists and presented in a special virtual exhibition: “The curious life of the Dresden Cherubs”. This will open on 1 December 2009 in “Dresden Gallery”. When the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden celebrate the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” in 2012, outstanding specimens will of course be shown in the real-world exhibition.