Google Art Project: Night Watch and The Bedroom in gigapixels

2 February 2011

On 1 February Google unveiled the Google Art Project, a collaboration of 17 of the world's most acclaimed art museums, including Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. The museums selected one piece of artwork from their collection, which Google then photographed in gigapixels for the new website. Around 1,000 additional objects from the same museums were also photographed in high resolution, and 385 museum galleries can be viewed at www.googleartproject.com using Street View technology. Other museums participating in the project in addition to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum include the MOMA and Metropolitan Museum in New York, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the National Gallery and Tate Britain in London, and the Palace of Versailles.

Museum galleries in 360 degrees
With a single mouse click, visitors to the new website will be able to view the museum galleries in 360 degrees, zoom in on details of various works by a total of 486 artists, as well as obtain background information. The ‘Create an Artwork Collection’ option also allows artworks to be selected for inclusion in a personal collection, which can then be shared with friends.

Accessible
Collaboration with the Google Art Project is in keeping with the policy of the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, which encourages sharing the collections and making them accessible to the largest possible audience worldwide. The Rijksmuseum already has a viewable online database containing 150,000 works of art, a ‘Rijkswidget’ that sends a new artwork from the collection each day to subscribers’ iPhones, and an online exhibition of historic fashion accessories at www.rijksmuseum.nl/accessorize.

The Van Gogh Museum displays a great deal of its works online through its website, and provides blog updates to those interested in developments of restoration projects (The Bedroom in 2010 via www.vangoghmuseum.com/bedroomsecrets) and research (Van Gogh’s studio practice (Van Goghs Atelierpraktijk, www.vangoghsatelierpraktijk.nl). The museum has also developed a range of mobile applications for visitors, like the iPhone app Yours, Vincent.

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