New app is Shazam for art

Smartphones and art galleries haven't always been a match made in heaven, but thanks to the launch of Smartify this could be set to change. Released yesterday, Smartify is a free app that uses image recognition technology to scan and identify artworks in certain museums and galleries.

Its aim is to give people a greater understanding of the masterpieces they're looking at. In short, it's like Shazam for the art world.

Unveiled yesterday at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, Smartify is now in use at over 30 of the world's major galleries and museums. The app is also open to having other venues involved, all you'd have to do as a venue is get in touch with the Smartify team via its site.

As well as providing current, quality-checked information on pieces of art, either via text or rich audio commentary, Smartify gives users the chance to save their favourite works into a personal collection. 

The app also provides recommendations of potential galleries that people should visit based on their activity.

Fire up an image on Smartify and you are seriously looking at that image. This one's Paul Emsley’s portrait of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge (2012) at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 2017. © Smartify

On its website, the Smartify team explains that the app came about through a group of four friends who enjoyed visiting museums and encountering art. This first-hand experience and artistic appreciation can be found at every stage of the Smartify app and its business model.

"Our values reflect those of a business started by a band of creatives, and the straightforward and inclusive style they promote," the team explains. "The approach we take towards product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility, letting the artwork tell its story."

Oh look, it's Frans Hals’s The Laughing Cavalier (1624) at The Wallace Collection, London, 2017. © Smartify

Thanks to the creative team's love of art, they donate their time, services and a portion of profits to venues around the world who are struggling with limited resources.

"Staying true to our core values has helped us create a company we’re proud to run and work for," they explain.

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