Google Art Project Brings Galleries Home

Google has an impressive range of tools and services. One new service, the Google Art Project, allows you to virtually visit some of the world's best museums. Learn more about this new feature. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Have you dreamt of visiting the Uffizi in Florence? Is a trip to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg on your bucket list? For some, going on an international art tour isn't easy to do. With travel expenses, language barriers and time constraints, some people never get to visit the world's best museums. And though some institutions provide high-resolution images of items from their collections, there's never really been a good stand-in for visiting in person.

berlin art museum

The Google Art Project aims to change this. While there will never be a real replacement for an actual museum visit, the Art Project gives users the opportunity to simulate the experience from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual tours allow users tour facilities that include the Tate Britain, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Palace of Versailles and the Van Gogh Museum.

Art Project, which uses technology similar to the Street View feature on Google Maps, allows visitors to 'walk' through a museum's halls. This is fun in cases where paintings line the galleries, but it is also a great way to view installations and architectural details. You can even listen to museum audio tours and access other multimedia resources produced by the institutions themselves.

van gogh painting detail

Google Art Project also provides high-resolution images of some of the museums' most famous works. For example, you can view detailed pictures of Van Gogh's Starry Night, Henri Rousseau's The Dream, Bottocelli's The Birth of Venus and Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi. These pictures are lush and gorgeous, capturing fine details that can usually only be admired in person. You can access images through drop-down menus, or you can click on images in the museum view if they have a plus sign next to them. Viewing the artwork, users can zoom in on details and navigate around pieces.

Another cool feature: Virtual visitors can create personal artwork collections, adding images, making notes and saving close-ups. You can share your collection, including notes, with others, allowing for discussion and collaboration. This feature has recreational applications for art enthusiasts, but it can also be very useful in an academic setting. The ability to save close-ups and make notes on an image could be very useful for art history students and others who need to closely analyze artwork.

As it is, the Google Art Project is a fantastic idea that is executed pretty well. There a few points that could use improvement; for example, you can't zoom in close enough to wall text to read it. Some users might also feel that the current selection of museums and paintings is too limited. If Google puts resources into growing the project, it could be an even better resource for museum enthusiasts.

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