Today Google unveiled the Art Project, a unique collaboration with some of the world’s most acclaimed art museums to enable people to discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail.
Over the last 18 months Google has worked with 17 art museums including the Tate and National Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The results of this partnership, which can be explored at www.googleartproject.com involved taking a selection of super high resolution images of famous artworks, as well as collating more than a thousand other images into one place. It also included building 360 degree tours of individual galleries using Street View ‘indoor’ technology.
With this unique project, anyone anywhere in the world will be able to learn about the history and artists behind a huge number of works, at the click of a mouse.
Each of the museums has worked in extensive collaboration with Google, providing expertise and guidance on every step of the project, from choosing which collections to feature; to advising on the best angle to capture photos; to what kind of information should accompany the artwork.
Works of art included in the project range from Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ to Chris Offili’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’, Cezanne’s post impressionist works to Byzantine iconography. From the ceilings of Versailles to ancient Egyptian temples, a collection of Whistlers to Rembrandts all over the globe. In total, 486 artists from around the world have been included.
Explore museums with Street View technology: using this feature, people can move around the gallery virtually on www.googleartproject.com, selecting works of art that interest them and clicking to discover more or diving into the high resolution images, where available. The info panel allows people to read more about an artwork, find more works by that artist and watch related YouTube videos.
A specially designed Street View ‘trolley’ took 360 degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of over 385 rooms within the museums. The gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps.
Super high resolution feature artworks: each of the 17 museums selected one artwork to be photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology. Each such image contains around 7 billion pixels, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye. Hard to see details suddenly become clear such as the tiny Latin couplet which appears in Hans Holbein the Younger’s ‘The Merchant Georg Gisze’. Or the people hidden behind the tree in Ivanov’s ‘The Apparition of Christ to the People’.
In addition, museums provided images for a selection totalling more than 1000 works of art. The resolution of these images, combined with a custom built zoom viewer, allows art-lovers to discover minute aspects of paintings they may never have seen up close before, such as the miniaturized people in the river of El Greco’s ‘ View of Toledo’, or individual dots in Seurat’s ‘Grandcamp, Evening’