Museum Art At Your Fingertips

Looks like Google has branched out yet again. This time it’s into our museums. Using The Google Art Project, you can explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces. The project is a collaboration between Google and 17 of the world’s top art galleries and museums. Here’s a great video overview of the project.

How To Use It

If you’ve used Google Maps before, more than likely you have zoomed down to the street level to look around. If not, I recommend doing so. It will give you a view as if you’re actually on the street you’re viewing from the map. There’s lots more to it, but the point I was getting to was, The Google Art Project functions very similar. Click the arrow in which direction you want to go and you’re on your way. I found using the arrow keys on my keyboard much easier and you can rotate 360 degrees just by holding down left or right. Careful not to hit the double arrow “>>”, you’ll end up on the street. Now would be a good time to try Google Street View if you haven’t already tried it. One thing I did find a little annoying was, once you zoom into a painting, there’s not an obvious button/link for you to zoom back out into the actual room you were in. I finally figured out that if you click the museum name, it will take you back to the regular view.

Walking around aimlessly looking for famous artwork, was like tryinh to find a needle in a haystack. However, if you go to the pull down menu at the top of the page, there’s a list of artwork of particular interest. Selecting one of those will warp you over to that part of the museum. Also, if you see a piece of artwork with a “+” next to it, that means you can zoom in to see greater detail.

If you need any info about the piece you’re looking at, click the “i” on the upper right and you’ll be given lots of options/details about its history. You can even save the artwork you like by making an Artwork Collection. Just click the “+” sign at the bottom right of the page and start adding pieces you like.
 

Viewing the Art

With such clarity and detail, it’s almost like you’re right there in the museum. You miss the physical experience, but it sure beats all the walking around.

Here’s one of the paintings I selected, The Apotheosis of Hercules.
 
 

You can see just how far I zoomed in. Other paintings you can zoom in closer, but this particular painting is actually on the ceiling and about 60′ wide by 55′ tall. Pretty impressive, because I would never be able to see that kind of detail from walking around on the floor level. On smaller paintings you can see the actual brush strokes.
 
 
Here’s a much smaller painting, The Merchant Georg Gisze.



Look how far I can zoom in on this one. And, I wasn’t zoomed in all the way. Amazing detail!
 

Easter Eggs

If you walk around enough, you’ll start to see a few oddities, but overall it’s a fun way to explore some fascinating muesums of the world from the convenience of your home.


A reflection of the camera guy taking pictures.
 
 

Another camera guy.
 
 

Employees in place to make sure you don’t run off with any artwork. Google took the liberty of blurring out their face.
 
 

I’ve been looking for you guys everywehere! Oh look, some construction work is being done too…
 
 

I hit the double arrow “>>” and I ended up in the midddle of oncoming traffic. Luckily, hitting it again brought me back inside.
 
 

While I was outside this time I decided to see what the Tate in Britain looked like from the front.
 

Behind The Scenes

It’s pretty incredible to see the amount of effort involved with creating this project. Google makes sure every detail is covered. Take a look at how they did it.

What will Google introduce next? Google Zoo? Google Ocean? No telling, but it should be equally impressive! When you have some free time, go check out some museums. I’m sure you will enjoy it.