2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday June 11, 2015

Updated on Friday July 13, 2018

Hidden treasures and iconic masterpieces: the Europeana 280 campaign

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This is a guest blog by Bruno Racine, Chair of the Europeana Foundation, and President of Bibliothèque national de France

The culture of Europe is vast and varied. Europeana 280, a Europe-wide campaign to celebrate our shared art history and promote Europeana’s brand new Art History Channel, will reflect one area of this rich heritage.

To take part in this campaign, each of Europe’s 28 countries is invited to choose ten artworks they feel represent their nation’s contribution to Europe’s artistic and cultural heritage. The works will then be digitised and added to Europeana’s platform, featuring as a special collection in the new channel when it launches in early 2016.

At the Europeana Foundation we will be working with galleries, museums and national Cultural Ministries from across Europe, with support from the European Commission. We need the involvement of the Europeana Network and all our memory institutions to support and promote the campaign in your own country and in your networks across Europe. In doing so, you can help us reach new audiences, and engage them with the importance of art, and its role in our shared past.

A mock-up of the Art History Channel

The 280 campaign not only supports the Europeana Art History channel launch by promoting it, but by drawing in new content too, making sure all 28 countries are represented. By highlighting different paintings and artists from each of Europe’s member states, and showing prominent works with their lesser-known but often seminal counterparts, it introduces the unique perspective on art history the channel will provide. We hope that this approach will also get people excited about their shared cultural heritage.

Europeana Channels are an innovative way to show off the best content in Europeana, giving users a more curated journey through our collections. The artworks will be displayed alongside other relevant materials, such as manuscripts and letters, allowing people to explore the pieces of art in their wider context.

By promoting the 280 pieces widely through social media, the public will also be invited to have their say, as well as having the chance to vote, using Artstack, for the works they find most inspiring. We are scheduling a couple of other events to support Europeana 280: a curated virtual exhibition and, at a Ministerial supported launch during the Dutch Presidency in early 2016, we will show an interactive installation of the digital art pieces we have collated.

The campaign promises to provide a fresh and engaging perspective of European art history, allowing people to enjoy publicly owned works never shown together before and in a new way. We are delighted at the support we have received so far, and hope you will join us on this exciting journey exploring Europe’s rich and varied artistic heritage. Over the summer we will bring you more news.

With so many artistic treasures to choose from, which ten will you and your country’s cultural institutions nominate?