Google Art Project Brings Museums to You
Google Art Project is an Art History buff’s best friend. It is basically a repository of artwork from various museums around the world, with as much basic information about the work as you can possibly imagine. Everything from a basic description to, in some cases, even a full provenance (one of the hardest things to find for any work of art if you aren’t handling it directly or in communication with the institution it belongs to). You can store images in your own queue and compare them side to side, and you can search images not only by museum but by artist, medium, time period and even event. What makes this project the most spectacular to me, a former Art History student, is that the images are of such great quality and, in being officially sanctioned by participating museums, as representative as possible. You can zoom in to see the brush strokes of the painting and have that close up be as in focus as the whole picture. With artists like Van Gogh or Bosch, that makes a wild difference.
Not every museum in the world is participating of course, but they’ve just recently added a few new collections and what is there presently is a godsend. The only thing this system seems to not allow is saving the images, which makes sense given that these institutions have allowed public access to their private property. What Google Art Project has managed to do is make museums more accessible for those who either can’t get to them or need to do research midst a pile of books.