Beauty is now in the iMac of the beholder

April 13, 2011

The ‘Art Project’ by Google is an amazing attempt to bring a huge number of artworks into your home. Google have got together with a number of museums and galleries and created an online version of some fabulous works of art. So you can view pictures in the US, Germany, Spain, the UK, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Russia and Italy without having to leave your chair.
And there are some very prestigious names on the list. The galleries that have joined so far are:

• Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
• Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
• The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
• Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
• MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
• Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
• Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
• Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
• National Gallery, London – UK
• Palace of Versailles – France
• Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
• The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
• State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
• Tate Britain, London – UK
• Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
• Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

The project means that you can take a virtual stroll around the galleries, in a similar manner to using Google Street View. So if it’s raining outside, or you just happen to have a little time on your hands, go for a stroll.
And if you find a piece that blows your mind, why not take a screenshot and use it as a desktop image.
This is where the headline above came from, as I’m an advocate of all things Mac.

But how cool is that? You can have your own image of a master as your screensaver. I saw this amazing piece by Chris Ofili in the Tate Britain gallery. It’s called ‘No woman, no cry’ and it’s stunning. When you first glance at it it looks like a stunning piece. But then when you use the tool to zoom in on it, you see that it’s even more amazing than that. As you can see below.

The full painting

Beautiful detail

You can also create your own collection, by saving the images you love into your own online gallery.
I wonder how long it will be before someone hosts an online gallery opening?
Some of the images are blurred, which is deliberate due to the copyright laws that govern some of the pieces. All of the images are shot in very high definition, so you can zoom into the images and create your own cropped images. Your imagination is your only limitation.

They’re talking to a number of other galleries about including them in the future. I can’t think of a better way for galleries to connect with the public and make them want to see the real thing. Hopefully more and more galleries will see the benefits and join the project.
I’m off for a stroll around The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, right here in Edinburgh.

For legal reasons I should probably point out that you should follow copyright laws and not take the mickey.
But do take the time to explore. You won’t be disappointed.

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