Thursday, February 3, 2011

Google Art Project

Google and art? Who knew the pairing could be so sweet!

I found this link and info through Matthew Innis's Underpaintings blog. If you haven't seen his blog, it is truly incredible and you should go check it out. The link is at the bottom of this post. Since he did such a great job explaining what it was about, I thought I'd just let Matthew tell it:

Google has used its Street View technology to bring 17 of the world's g
reat art galleries right into your home. The recently launched Art Project offers online visitors the chance to view thousands of paintings which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see, add their favorite images to a personal gallery, and share their gallery electronically with friends. Each painting uploaded to the site from the participating museums is viewable in detail using a custom zoom viewer, and one painting chosen from each of museums is available in extreme detail - the 17 special images were shot using "gigapixel" photo-capturing software providing pictures containing 7 billion pixels worth of information.

At first I was a bit skeptical of it all. I've seen lots of paintings online, and know matter what you do, it just doesn't come across well.
Of course, it's great that you don't have to travel to Moscow, London or Madrid in order to get the feeling and experience of great art firsthand. The web has done that for years, so it's a bit of a given. But Google got this right. The colors are gorgeous, the brushwork delicious and the overall effect astonishing. The real beauty of this technology, though, is that you can finally get up close to a work of art to see how the artist used his/her brushstrokes without the alarm going off or the security guard asking you to "step away from the painting."

Below are a few quick screen captures so you can really see what they've done. I can't wait until more museums and more works get this technology applied to them. It still doesn't beat the experience of seeing a work of art firsthand, but it is the next best thing for those of us who don't readily travel around the globe.

Matthew Innis Underpaintings blog: