Google Art Project

Most of you have probably heard about Google’s new venture, the Google Art Project, If you haven’t heard about it and you’re an art lover, it’s definitely worth checking out, as it’s generating quite a lot of buzz. In a collaboration with some of the world’s most prestigious art museums, the Google Art Project takes you on a dazzling virtual tour, replete with extremely high resolution images of famous paintings which are remarkable. You can also navigate through the museums themselves, watch videos on the YouTube channel and experience art in the most interactive way available. Only visiting the museums in person, which is not practical for everybody, could bring you closer to the artwork.

Among the eminent museums on board with the Google Art Project are the Hermitage, the Uffizi Gallery, the Tate Britain, the Van Gogh Museum, and New York’s own Metropolitan Museum and MoMA. Notably absent from the list so far are the Louvre in Paris and the Prado in Madrid. But I’m guessing that they will partner with Google Art Project in due time, since the project is still in its infancy.

As to be expected, “art critic” types are already raising concerns and the usual elitist objections. This article in The Telegraph discusses some of those concerns. But H Niyazi, a commenter here on Museworthy, praises the Google Art Project on his superb art history blog Three Pipe Problem. Read his discussion in this post and again in this one.

In my opinion the Google Art Project, while still in its rudimentary stages, has the potential to become a useful and inspiring online art history resource. Right now it lacks some key features like informative text and a search feature. But I’m sure those improvements will come. So far it looks like they’re off to an excellent start.

I’d love to hear what Museworthy readers think of the Google Art Project. If anyone has thoughts or opinions, please share them in comments!

7 thoughts on “Google Art Project

  1. H Niyazi says:

    Hi Claudia! Cheers for the mention. I think its interesting to note the critic in question has since quietened down on the topic and the rant piece he was promising in the UK Press has yet to materialise.

    Of course Google Art Project will never replace museums, its just an extra resource to promote accessibility and interest. I read an observation elswhere that Google Art Projects will threaten museums like Google Street View threatens travel!

    Keep up the great work – love your blog!
    H Niyazi

    • artmodel says:

      H Niyazi,

      Yes, that theory about real, in person museum visits being threatened by online resources is stupid. I live in New York City and nothing could ever stop me from going to the Met!

      Happy to give you a shout out. Your blog is excellent and I really enjoy your writing on art history. You keep up the good work too! Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  2. Andrew says:

    There’s no substitute for seeing original artwork in person. So of course a web resource (or a book) will never be an adequate substitute for a visit to a world-class art museum. But how many people can visit all of the world’s top art museums? The value of an online “virtual” museum is greater access (anytime to anyone). It also allows a preview for a traveler who is deciding where to go.

    Google Art Project feels like version 1.0 or even a beta test version. It’s cool, but it’s clunky. I assume they are focusing their energy on building the inventory of images. I expect a refined user interface and enhanced features will be forthcoming eventually.

    • artmodel says:

      Andrew,

      I agree absolutely. Right now, Google Art Project is far from perfect. And they must enlist many more museums. That’s essential in my opinion. But it’s an exciting, ambitious project and I predict it will evolve nicely in time.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  3. Gavin says:

    I’d expect the Telegraph to damn with faint praise. They will always say they’re in favour of less elitism, but will be getting the vapours about the Working Classes being able to see art and getting ideas above their station. Google have marketed it wrong; they should have told the British art establishment that it will stop the lower orders visiting museams and getting chips and brown sauce all over the exhibits as they will stay at home and ‘visit’ on their X-Boxes instead;)

    It’s not a perfect way to see art, but it’s a new and useful way to see art that otherwise you wouldn’t get the chance to. I doubt I’ll personally ever visit New York for example – I’ve heard it’s great and if I could I’d visit, but there are a lot of Asian countries I want to visit first. So it’s nice to be able to have a peak at some of the galleries.

    • artmodel says:

      Gavin,

      You made me laugh with your first paragraph! 😆 I love your sense of humor.

      Yes, the art establishment types just don’t get it most of the time. As if all of us can just drop everything, hop on a plane and fly to Russia to visit the Hermitage! I think any accessibility to fine art is a good thing.

      Thanks for commenting, Gavin!

      Claudia

  4. H Niyazi says:

    I must admit I’ve been giggling at Gavin’s fabulous reply!

    The vapours comment reminded me of Mr Frederick Fairlie in Wilkie Collins’ ‘The Woman in White’ I imagine he would have had a similar response at the idea of the working classes trampling his halls.

    H

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