Google Art Project Brings Museum Collections to Street View
Google unveiled on Tuesday (Feb. 1) a new service that will bring the world’s most acclaimed art museums and their works to your computer screen.
Called the Google Art Project, the site allows anyone anywhere to learn about the history and artists behind a huge number of works at the click of a mouse.
Over the last 18 months, Google has worked with 17 art museums – from the National Gallery (London) and the Uffizi (Florence, Italy) to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City – to take a selection of super high-resolution images of famous artworks and collect more than a thousand other images into one place.
Works of art included in the project range from Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" to Chris Ofili's "No Woman, No Cry", Cezanne's post impressionist works to Byzantine iconography. From the ceilings of Versailles to ancient Egyptian temples, 486 artists from around the world have been featured.
Google Art Project also includes 360-degree tours of individual galleries using Street View "indoor" technology. Through this feature, people can move around in virtual space within the galleries. Info panel displays allows people to read more about an artwork, find more works by that artist and watch related YouTube videos.
To create the online galleries, Google used a specially designed Street View "trolley" that took could 360-degree images. The images 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 .
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.
The project also allows users to create their own collection. They can save specific views of any of the artwork to build their own personalized collection. Comments can be added to each painting, and the whole collection can then be shared with friends and family.
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