Home Google Art Project Takes Visitors Inside Museums Using Street View

Google Art Project Takes Visitors Inside Museums Using Street View

Google’s new “Art Project” makes art viewable at high resolution online and also employs its Street View technology to provide access to 17 top museums.

The project uses Picasa and App Engine to provide high rez scans of 1,000 prominent pieces of art. It uses Street View to bring viewers in the virtual doors of MoMA, the Hermitage, the Tate, the British National Gallery, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery, the Van Gogh Van Gogh Museum and others.

The images include a sample of “super high resolution” images and 1,000 “other images” from 400 artists, according to the Google blog.

The samples seems to bridge an ocean of painting from European to Asian, modern to classical. The slideshow-style presentation seems a bit awkward, though the zoom is elegant.

As a website, apparently not an app so far, it doesn’t rival Art Authority, which may be the gold standard for art history apps at this point, with over 40,000 images.

But the ability to navigate some of the world’s most important museum makes the project exciting. Selecting a museum, you have the choice of viewing its art or taking the Street View-powered tour. The latter certainly helps to contextualize the former, at least in terms of understanding how we view art. “Visiting” the Frick, for instance, you can move about in the environment, pausing to click on the cross-shapes you see on paintings in order to view that painting outside Street View.

The video below is interesting particularly when it shows how they got the “Street View” shots. (With any luck they didn’t capture Breugel’s email along with his brush strokes.)

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