The latest contribution by Google has been officially launched and I am happy to say that it is related to art. The “Art Project“, as it’s called, is basically Google’s “Street View” technology but brought indoors; and most importantly to art lovers, inside some of the worlds most famous art museums. Now fans from all over the world can visit the Uffizi in Florence, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery in London, and more. Viewers can take a virtual tour of the museum, much like many galleries have been trying to do for a while now, and take a look at how the works are displayed. The best part is that you get these amazing high resolution images of the artworks. You can zoom in pretty close, so for all those people such as myself that like to really take in every detail, you can now do that with many of the greatest masterpieces. Of course this will not replace seeing the work in person, but it’s not as if everyone can fly to Florence or New York on a whim.
There have been some others sites that do offer high resolution images of artworks, ArtStor is one them. During my Art History eduction this website was used daily, and while it is cumbersome to use the images were often the best you could find. The one problem was that you always dealt with an inconsistency in the way the photos of the artworks were taken. So some would be true to the original works, and others would be poor in color and saturation. If Google can address this, and make the site a little less buggy, then I imagine Art Project will become a part of our daily lives, such as Google Maps or Gmail.