With the aforementioned exception of libraries and bookstores, I find few places more pleasing and comforting than art museums. This pleasure is not always practical, however, with high admission fees and let’s not forget, in many cases, the requisite travel expenses.
The newly launched Google Art Project is an amazing compromise to this dilemma, which introduces art space that eschews the limitations of money and geographic location.
While I am the first to admit that digitized art can’t hold a candle to the real thing, nor can an online platform replace the atmosphere of a well curated gallery, this project opens a whole world of art to those that would otherwise not have the opportunity.
The Art Project works with Google’s Street View technology and offers tours of 17 important museums from around the world, including some of my favorites like The Uffizi in Florence, The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and Museum Kampa in Prague. In most of the museums, you can browse the entire collection with the exception of a few works that are blurred out due to copyright. Many of the museums have also kindly included videos from museum experts and information on artists.
Best of all, the entire thing is captured in high-res so you can zoom in on works that catch your eye and scrutinize a piece right down to mind-boggling details like cracks and brush strokes.
The platform also offers the option to view the works alone, even allowing you to create your very own virtual art collection. Give it a test ride, or get a tour of the Art Project with this video tutorial. Well played Google, well played.