Have you ever dreamed of seeing Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night, but just do not have the means of visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City? That is quite possible now with Google Art Project first introduced February of 2011. This is one of the 17 ultra high resolution paintings that can be viewed up close in extreme detail. Zooming in (below) will reveal textures, cracks in the paint, and areas where the paint must have come off, exposing bare canvas.
The Google Art Project includes 17 famous museums and art galleries from around the world. I have visited some of these, but I was hoping to see the Louvre in there. Hopefully this museum is included in the future.
It uses street view technology, the same seen when zooming in close on Google Maps, powered by Google. Each museum may be toured in a full 360 degrees, even though I found some of the controls a bit difficult.By signing in to a Google account, users may create a collection of their own paintings, include comments, and share it with friends.
Google Art Project Museum List
- Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian at Washington DC - United States
- Alte National galerie in Berlin – Germany
- The Frick Collection at NYC - United States
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMOA) - New York City, United States
- Gemäldegalerie in Berlin – Germany
- The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York City, United States
- Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
- Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
- Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
- Palace of Versailles – France
- National Gallery in London – United Kingdom
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
- State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
- The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
- The Tate Gallery, London – United Kingdom
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
How to Use Art Project by Google to Explore Museums Around the World – Tutorial
- Go to the Google Art Project website.
- There is a list of the 17 museums mentioned above. Click on one that you would like to explore. A close up appears of the museum’s highly digitized piece. Choose either to View Artwork or Explore the Museum. For this tutorial, I will pick the latter. I chose to visit the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia for my 3D virtual tour.
- Art Project Navigation
You are presented with an inside gallery view of one of the centerpieces of the museum collection.
The are various methods of navigation here.
To look in different directions for the 360 degree view, click the arrows inside the top circle. This will direct the camera in any direction.
To zoom in or out, click the + or – at the bottom of this circle. The numbers below this represent museum floors, and only appear if there are other floors.
Movement throughout the virtual museum may be achieved in two ways:
1 - Clicking the directional arrows which appear at the bottom of the gallery view.
2 - Hovering your cursor anywhere.
If a square appears around the cursor, this means clicking will bring a closer view of a wall. If a oval/ circle shape appears, clicking will center you on a spot at that floor position.
- More Information
Navigate the floor plan by clicking the i symbol in the upper right corner. This brings up extra information about the museum. Hover your mouse cursor over a particular room, and click to be directly transported there.
This section also includes a map of the museum location, history, and information on the gallery’s other artworks.
The extra information is available for close-up painting views as well, revealing details about the history of the artist, and more.
Project controls are simple and intuitive, though is not easy to use at times. It can be very difficult to get a good centered close up view of some of the paintings. Many artworks appear blurry. At times I found myself lost, one time even ending up in the middle of traffic from clicking a door, since this is actually interfaced with Google Street View.
Although, much of the navigation may be annoying at times, Google Art Project gives us something we have not had before. This is a virtual peak into the collections of some of the world’s most famous museums from the comfort of our own homes. This can also be a valuable resource for visual art and art history students, who may study a painting in extreme detail right from their computer screen. Many do not have the means to travel large distances to take a museum tour. This will give them the opportunity.
Here are a couple Youtube videos detailing some extra information…
How to Use Google Art Project
The Making of Google Art Project