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Comparing Art Authority and Art Alert

Now that our new Art Alert app is out, we’ve been getting questions about the differences between it and our award-winning Art Authority app (“Best iPad reference app of 2011”). The LA Times recently called Art Alert a “companion app” to Art Authority, and the two do work best together. But each app is great on its own too.

Here’s the simplest way to look at things:

Art Authority brings the world’s best art to you, and Art Alert brings you to the world’s best art.

Here are the main similarities between to two:

  • Both use the Art Authority database of nearly 60,000 paintings and sculptures, 1000+ western artists and 500+ museums and other art locations. 
  • Both present that artwork full-screen and in scrolling thumbnail arrays, with detailed captions (title, artist, date, etc.)

And here are the main differences:

  • Art Authority is a very general app for exploring, learning about, and enjoying art and art history. Art Alert is much more specific, focused on helping you find, preview and get to that art in the real world.
  • Art Alert has an easy-to-use, map-based user interface. Art Authority, especially on the iPad, has a “visually dazzling” virtual museum-based user interface with a wide variety of features.
  • Art Authority displays works from “Private Collections” and unknown and obscure locations, as well as the world’s top museums and other locations that Art Alert displays works from.
  • Art Authority additional features include access by period, artist name, title, subject and even “Art Like This.” Also automated slide shows with Ken Burns motion effect, highlights, shuffle, period overviews, and Prints on Demand (some of these features are specific to the iPad version).
  • Art Alert’s additional features help you get to the real art in the real world. Things like directions, search by city or country, and the ability to call a location directly on your iPhone.
  • Art Authority provides information on individual works of art, artists, and locations. Art Alert provides details on location, above and beyond those provided by Art Authority.
  • Art Authority downloads and displays a retina-quality version of the work where available, through our “smArt resolution” technology.

Art Alert can automatically run Art Authority if you have Art Authority installed. Just hit the “View this collection in Art Authority” button. You can then use Art Authority to explore related context, get more detail on works, view slide shows, etc. The best of both worlds!

Art Alert by the numbers

Now that Art Alert (“Find great art wherever you find yourself”) has been out for a few days, we’re starting to get questions about the number of works it can display at each location, or in each city or country. Or the number of different art sites in each city or country. Etc. 

You can actually get a pretty good feel for some of these details through the number and density of pins in the initial map of the world displayed by Art Alert, or by zooming in on a particular country or city of interest.


We’ve also said that the Art Authority database, on which Art Alert is based, contains nearly 60,000 works of art, over 1000 artists and over 500 museums and other art locations (546 at this moment, to be precise).

Additionally, we thought we’d post some other useful numbers here. We’re of course always adding works and locations to the database, so this is just a snapshot of the way things are now, but we still think it’s very interesting and perhaps a good guide to where you might want your next trip to be.

Art Alert Top Countries by Number of Works

  1. USA 5592 works, 181 locations
  2. Italy 4585 works, 111 locations (includes the Vatican)
  3. Russia 3154 works, 14 locations
  4. France 3126 works, 47 locations
  5. UK 2669 works, 36 locations
  6. Germany 1970 works, 29 locations
  7. Spain 1121 works, 16 locations
  8. Netherlands 1076 works, 17 locations
  9. Belgium 613 works, 12 locations
  10. Austria 606 works, 9 locations
Art Alert Top Cities by Number of Works
  1. Paris 2438 works, 16 locations
  2. St. Petersburg 1876 works, 4 locations
  3. London 1719 works, 14 locations
  4. Florence 1357 works, 23 locations
  5. Washington DC 1268 works, 12 locations
  6. New York 1265 works, 15 locations
  7. Moscow 1172 works, 4 locations
  8. Madrid 1003 works, 7 locations
  9. Venice 860 works, 21 locations
  10. Vatican 656 works, 13 locations
  11. Berlin 653 works, 4 locations
  12. Vienna 577 works, 7 locations
  13. Amsterdam 556 works, 5 locations
  14. Rome 375 works, 12 locations
  15. Philadelphia 340 works, 8 locations
Art Alert Top Locations by Number of Works
  1. Louvre Museum, Paris, France 1405
  2. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia 972
  3. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia 948
  4. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia 904
  5. Museo del Prado, Madrid 720
  6. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York NY 702
  7. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 661
  8. National Gallery, London, UK 587
  9. Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany 568
  10. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy 556
  11. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France 544
  12. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria  353
  13. Sistine Chapel, Vatican 344
  14. Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC 343
  15. Tate Gallery, London, UK 336
  16. Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary 335
  17. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands 323
  18. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA 322
  19. British Museum, London, UK 304
  20. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany 283

Art Alert, the movie

We’ve made a less-than-two-minute movie that goes over all the basics of how to use our new Art Alert app to find, preview and get to real art in the real world. 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCWgKdJCLyQ?rel=0]

It’s also available directly from YouTube. Questions or comments? Please let us know.


Art Alert

“Find great art wherever you find yourself.”

Art Alert is the newest app in the Art Authority app lineup. It’s a “bridge” between the massive virtual art museum of Art Authority and the physical art museums of the real world. Using Art Authority’s database of nearly 60,000 works, Art Alert helps you find, preview and get to the world’s best art at over 500 locations worldwide.


Art Alert uses a familiar map interface to make locating real-world art incredibly easy. Once you’ve found an art location near where you are or where you’re going to be, you can learn about it through its Web or Wikipedia site, get directions to it, or even call it on your iPhone. Better yet, you can preview every work of art from that location that’s in the Art Authority database, so you’ll have some idea what to expect if you decide to go.


You’ll hear much more about Art Alert here, and elsewhere, over the next few weeks, including how it will be able to automatically run Art Authority to provide you with additional ways to learn about and explore related art. For now please check out the app and let us know what you think. 



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