South African rock designs. Brazilian street graffiti. Australian aboriginal art. Today we’re announcing a major expansion of the Google Art Project. From now on, with a few simple clicks of a finger, art lovers around the world will be able to discover not just paintings, but also sculpture, street art and photographs from 151 museums in 40 countries.
Since we introduced the Art Project last year, curators, artists and viewers from all over the globe have offered exciting ideas about how to enhance the experience of collecting, sharing and discovering art. Institutions worldwide asked to join the project, urging us to increase the diversity of artworks displayed. We listened.
The original Art Project counted 17 museums in nine countries and 1,000 images, almost all paintings from Western masters. Today, the Art Project includes more than 30,000 high-resolution artworks, with Street View images for 46 museums, with more on the way. In other words, the Art Project is no longer just about the Indian student wanting to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American student wanting to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.
The expanded Art Project embraces all sizes of institutions, specializing in art or in other types of culture. For example, you can take a look at the White House in Washington, D.C., explore the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, and continue the journey to the Santiniketan Triptych in the halls of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. In the United States alone, some 29 partners in 16 cities are participating, ranging from excellent regional museums like the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina to top notch university galleries such as the SCAD museum of art in Savannah, Georgia.
Here are a few other new things in the expanded Art Project that you might enjoy:
- Using completely new tools, called Explore and Discover, you can find artworks by period, artist or type of artwork, displaying works from different museums around the world.
- Google+ and Hangouts are integrated on the site, enabling you to create even more engaging personal galleries.
- Street View images are now displayed in finer quality. A specially designed Street View “trolley” took 360-degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of more than 385 rooms within the museums. You can also explore the gallery interiors directly from within Street View in Google Maps.
- We now have 46 artworks available with our “gigapixel” photo capturing technology, photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution so you can study details of the brushwork and patina that would be impossible to see with the naked eye.
- An enhanced My Gallery feature lets you select any of the 30,000 artworks—along with your favorite details—to build your own personalized gallery. You can add comments to each painting and share the whole collection with friends and family. (It’s an ideal tool for students.)
The Art Project is part of our efforts to bringing culture online and making it accessible the widest possible audience. Under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, we’re presenting high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing the archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela, and creating 3D models of 18th century French cities.
For more information and future developments, follow the Art Project on Google+. Together with the fantastic input from our partners from around the world, we’re delighted to have created a convenient, fun way to interact with art—a platform that we hope appeals to students, aspiring artists and connoisseurs alike.