Google Art Project Debuts

Google Earth allows you to zoom in on the Taj Mahal. Google Street View lets you take a stroll up Chicago’s Magnificent Mile or through UNESCO World Heritage sites. But up until now, these familiar tools have kept our eyes on the outside. Not anymore. Google has partnered with 17 of the world’s most renowned museums to make them more accessible. Google Art Project uses street view technology to showcase of 1,000 paintings on the wall of select galleries in museums like the New York’s MoMA and the Uffizi in Florence.

In an easy-to-navigate window, you can breeze through the museum’s galleries. Each painting is accompanied by information about the medium, dimensions, and artist’s history as well as related media: YouTube videos, audio commentary, viewing notes, and a comments section. No more arching your neck over the group of tourists crowded around Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” Move. Zoom. Rotate. Engage. Save your favorite paintings in your own personalize art collection which you can share with friends and family on the web.

Of the thousands works of art made accessible by Art Project, only a select few paintings can be viewed in high-res. However, one painting in each museum has been shot in ultra detail (up to 7 billion pixels). Using super high resolution or “gigapixel” photo-capturing technology, brush strokes and crackled canvases come to life on your computer screen.

Photo: Casey Masterson/My Shot