February 25, 2011
1 Google Art Project
2 Google Art Project
3 Google Art Project
You can now get up close and personal with some of the most famous works of art from the comfort of your living room, all thanks to Google’s partnership with 17 of the world’s leading art museums. The new Google Art Project allows you to explore a selection of the most coveted masterpieces our world has ever seen, right down to the brushstroke.
Using its pioneering Street View programme, Google takes the visitor on a virtual 360 degree tour around the museum of their choice, with options ranging from the Tate Britain to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Each museum’s page contains a brief history, and links to its location on Google Maps. You are then able to explore each gallery from room to room, as well as create collections of your own favourite pieces.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the website is the “Artwork View” which allows visitors to zoom into a 17 special high resolution images – one for each of the of the participating museum’s most treasured piece. Each image is composed of around 7 billion pixels, allowing you to zoom in so closely that you can even see the hairs left from the paintbrush.
Each museum has control over the amount of information included in the project, and Google expects to add many more museums and galleries to the collection. The concept was unveiled at the Tate Britain in London, with the Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota, describing it as the “second generation view of the way museums will use the internet.” He then went on to say: “Ten years ago museums were obsessed with getting thousands of objects on the screen, now we’re interested in getting depth of understanding of the works.”
The idea of the project is to provide encouragement and inspiration for people to travel to the galleries and see the paintings in person. However, it could surely be seen as an alternative to this, as people can view the entire museum without moving a muscle? Nonetheless, the project is bound to be a success as it demonstrates the importance of appreciating an original work of art, complete with an innovative twist.