Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Introducing Google's Art Project - streetview for galleries

a still from Google Art Project - Behind the Scenes
The Google Art Project was launched at the end of last week.  It works on the same principle at Streetview - except you're walking the galleries of different museums rather than the streets of specific places.
The Art Project is a collaboration between Google and some of the world's most acclaimed art museums. Powered by a broad, connected suite of Google technologies, the world's great works of art and museums are now within reach to an unprecedented global audience.
It's rather disorientating when it starts up as it comes in as a close-up on a work of art.

The Guardian get the kudos for making the most of this and have kicked off with a Google Art Project: Guess the artwork – quiz.

This is the Google Art Project Visitor Guide video which was loaded onto YouTube last Friday.

Here's some links to get you started:

What is the ‘Art Project’?
A unique collaboration with some of the world’s most acclaimed art museums to enable people to discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail.
  • Explore museums with Street View technology: virtually move around the museum’s galleries, selecting works of art that interest you, navigate though interactive floor plans and learn more about the museum and you explore.
  • Artwork View: discover featured artworks at high resolution and use the custom viewer to zoom into paintings. Expanding the info panel allows you to read more about an artwork, find more works by that artist and watch related YouTube videos.
  • Create your own collection: the ‘Create an Artwork Collection’ feature allows you to save specific views of any of the 1000+ artworks and build your own personalised collection. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends and family.

If you'd like to read what the papers have to say about it here are links to various articles 

I'll be writing more about this - but first I'm taking some time out to explore!


  1. I used the response tool to tell the MoMa to lower their viewpoint, because it had me looking down at the paintings. Either it is a systems startup hitch, or I am ignorant of the view tools. I tried hard to get to eye level.

    Wonderful tool, and I can't wait to "go" to the Hermitage.

  2. I agree the experience of viewing art for real 'up close and personal' the best experience of all - except when the galleri is crowded and it's difficult to see the artwork in the way you'd like to. Which unfortunately is what one experiences far too often in the "blockbuster" exhibitions.

    Also it's not a substitute if the option of seeing the artwork in person in a particular art gallery actually justn't an option in reality - for financial reasons or whatever.

    That's when a tool like this comes into its own.

    I'm only surprised that more art galleries haven;t already done something like this - far too few have.

  3. That comment was a response to the one I've just deleted - I didn't notice the spam link at the end!

  4. Street View inside the galeries? I will never leave home... :)
    Thanks for this post, Katherine.

  5. I've found a downside - and I can only assume they started this project before they knew how many million ipads were going to sell worldwide

    The Art project does not play properly on the iPad.

    Now how stupid is that? I guess somebody is kicking themself......

    It's Flash based for the tours. You can get some of it but not all and it's very difficult to navigate. I think the only way I'll get to the Uffizi via the iPad is if I type it in

  6. I have to say this is one of the most amazing technological things I have seen for museums and galleries in my 16 years of museum work. I can't believe it has taken them this long either - wish I came up with the idea! Pity it doesn't work on an i-pad.

    One postive thing is this will be really useful for art students in schools and colleges, and it is good for carbon footprints and for those people who live far away from the galleries or who cannot afford long trips to see them. It improves access on an amazing level.

    Hopefully it won't effect museum and gallery numbers, because as you say, it's not quite like seeing the real thing... Doesn't look like the V&A are in it yet, so I suppose I'll still be going there and having my Lapsang Souchong in the 'Green Room' :) now you can't do that in a virtual gallery... or can you?!


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