When Google starts thinking about a new way to use their passion for art and apply their Streetview technology, the result is the cutting-edge experience called Google Art Project. Making museums more accessible to a new audience who might otherwise never get to see this art up close was their goal, and as one of those people, this achievement is monumental. While it can never replace the museum experience it will widen the appreciation of all that is available on the web and in the world.
Art and history brought to a new platform through technology can broaden the appreciation of the treasures hidden in places we cannot reach. Touring the world’s great museums and writing about the history of its treasures is a dream of mine, but not sustainable on a researcher’s small income. These places can now be viewed in two ways by the Art Project, a showcase of selected pieces from the most important works of the collection, or a virtual walking tour with 360 degree views. Ever dreamed of going to the Versailles? Well now you can!
The selected pictures can be viewed in ultra hi-res gigapixel versions (1-billion pixels). Images so detailed you can see the brush strokes and fine details that would be difficult to see in person, even if you were lucky enough to visit all these places in a lifetime.
You also have the option to save individual works of art during your tour, curating your own virtual collection and adding comments you can share.
At the Palace of Versailles, under the information tab on the right, if you click on the media link, there is a short video of “Science and Curiosities at the Court of Versailles”. One of the featured pieces is a dulcimer played by a mechanical version of the queen. This unique piece was created by the watchmaker and cabinetmaker to the king, Marie Antoinette’s eyes blink and her head turns all while ‘playing’ the instrument’.
Here is a listing of the museums currently working with Google and they promise more to come. Try it out and tell me what you think. Any pictures you want to know more about? History of the museum, artist, subject? Let me know and I will endeavor to find all the information you want.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA – New York, The State Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Tate Britain and The National Gallery – London, Museo Reina Sofia – Madrid, The Uffizi Gallery – Florence, The Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam, Alte Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Berlin, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian – Washington, D.C., The Frick Collection – New York City, Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Berlin, Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza – Madrid, Museum Kampa – Prague, Palace of Versailles – near Paris, Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, State Tretyakov Gallery – Moscow.