Google Art Project
If you have a few minutes (or hours, or days) to kill while sitting in front of your computer and you’re tired of looking at cat pictures on Facebook, check out the Google Art Project (www.googleartproject.com).
Google has partnered with over 200 art museums around the world to house and present thousands of high resolution digital photographs of significant pieces of the museum’s collections. Now you have access to thousands of works of art right from your computer. The photos are very good, allowing you to zoom in tightly on the work to the point where you can see individual brushstrokes on paintings. The site is interactive and customizable. You can learn more about the artist and historical significance of particular works through pop-up windows. You can also create your own galleries by choosing your favorite works and saving them in their own “room.”
You can also follow Google Art Project on G+, Google’s social networking site, which not only allows you to get updates when new collections are added, but also participate in Google Hangout Art Talks. Google Hangouts are interactive video and audio chats. They serve as the mechanism for the Art Talks, where a noted artists, curator, or art historian discusses a particular work or collection. There’s one scheduled for April 30th on Brugel’s “The Tower of Babel” that argues Brugel was a science fiction pioneer.
There’s lots of obvious classroom potential here for showing work to students, or assigning them to virtually attend an Art Talk. Or you can just curate your own gallery, visiting it whenever you need inspiration or relaxation.
Is it as good as being there? Nope. But even the best museum in the world won’t allow you to move the paintings around however you want!