Arment Dietrich

The Google Art Project, Free Access to Museums

By: Arment Dietrich | February 2, 2011 | 
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While most of the Midwest works from home today, I’m going to tour the Tate Britain in London, the Museum Kampa in Prague, then maybe putz around at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian in D.C., and I might end my journey with the MoMA here in NYC.

Google did it again.  They’ve opened the doors for people like me (art-lovers-with-no-money-to-travel) to explore some of the world’s most famous museums first hand just by visiting the Google Art Project.  You’ve probably noticed Google’s homepage has six images below the search with a brief title not even intriguing enough to click on, but I urge you to click. 

It started with Google employees sharing a love for art.  Using the same technology as Google street view, you can tour and navigate room to room within a variety of museums across the globe.

According to the director of the project, “artworks were documented using an extremely high resolution technology, “gigapixel,” which allows people to zoom into the images to see detailed brush strokes and the subtlety of each artist. Each of these images contains around seven billion pixels—that’s around 1,000 times more detailed than your average digital camera.”

Google brought street view indoors.  Now, within an hour I can see the height of the Eiffel Tower, check out the Museum of Modern Art, tour the vineyards of Napa, and view The Birth of Venus like no text book has shown me before.   (You can even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.)  Interested yet?

Besides my amusement, this changes the way professors teach.  I can only imagine how different my art history class would have been with this technology.

What do you think is going to be next?  Or better yet, what do you want Google to tackle next?

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