There once was a time when visitors to museums might assemble a library of slides to keep a record of artworks not published in popular print sources. However, nowadays, the purpose may be fulfilled more easily with laser discs or videotapes that reproduce works from museum collections.
One of the newest and best of these is devoted to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris (Voyager, $124.95).
The disc offers a one-hour introduction to various 19th century movements and their most important artists. A 143-page booklet provides texts on the art, though viewers may also choose a narration in either French or English.
For those who wish to conduct their own tour, the disc includes a section of 11,000 still frames reproducing 2,100 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and decorative objects.
No texts accompany the images, but at times as many as 15 detail shots follow the complete reproduction. Viewers simply use their remote control to change frames, as if turning the pages of a book.
The color and resolution of these images are remarkable, far surpassing the accuracy of tapes or, for that matter, the majority of slides used in college classrooms. Reproductions still are, however, reproductions, and one should be wary of them. But for those who can keep from being deadened by overexposure, laser discs are the way to go.