Google Makes Art Accessible to All
Yes. Google. The world’s #1 search engine. Google. The same company who has been ensconced in a bitter battle with the publishing and author community over copyright.
But Google has been doing something wonderful for the world community, bringing art, artists and museums to those who might have never been exposed to art before. And, even if they had, perhaps never have had (or ever will have) the opportunity to bring art collections and the museums in which they are housed delivered virtually to a user’s computer.
For the project to work properly, not any browser will do. Google’s own browser, Chrome, is the key to delving into the 3D virtual world, called Google Art Project.
Many museums around the world are participants in this huge cultural undertaking. Over 100 international museums and galleries are participating in this project, among them, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Fricke Collection in New York, the Cloisters in New York, the MOMA in New York, the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Leopold Museum in Vienna, the Munch Museum in Oslo, the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris, Musee de Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Uffizi in Florence, the National Gallery in London, The National Gallery in Prague, the National Galleries in Scotland, the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the White House and the Palace of Versailles – to name only a handful!
Seventeen of these provide a virtual 3D view of the inside of the museum, using street view cameras to give a great 360 degree view of every floor of the participating museum. The technology used was a panoramic camera, lasers that calculated distances to the walls, motion sensors and a whole host of other technology to bring you inside your chosen museum.
Each museum features a piece from their collection for Google’s “Gigapixel Artwork.” Google then photographed each piece using super high resolution, allowing viewers to study the piece of art in super-microscopic detail. The Uffizi’s piece of Gigapixel Artwork? Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
Go into the “partners” section of the Project. From there, you can click on the museum or gallery of your choice. It brings you to the pieces which have been photographed and digitized by Google. From there, it gives details about the museum or gallery, how many artists and pieces of artwork are featured in that particular museum.
The project makes fine art accessible to the masses, a worthwhile venture. Plus, it’s search friendly. Know what museum you want to visit? Click on “Collections” in the upper left-hand corner. Know the name of the artwork you’re looking for but not the artist? Click on “Artworks.” Looking for a particular artist? “Click on “Artist.”
A virtual visitor can spend HOURS perusing the site, as one delves deeper and deeper into its offerings, while having the opportunity – and capability – of creating your own personal gallery of favorites on the site. Try it to experience the next step in art appreciation!