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OMGigapixel!: Google Art Project launches and it’s beautiful!

In collaboration with seventeen of the world’s great museums, Google now takes its Street View indoors and allows to visit more than 400 rooms, examine the work of over 385 artists, and view and compare more than 1000 works of art.

Here’s an introduction from Google developer Amit Sood and Sir Nicholas Serota of the Tate:

So, the word amazing is probably the most overused word in the English language and I try to avoid it, but the Google Art Project is AMAZING.

We can now take deep peeks into the collections of the following institutions:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
  • Frick Collection, New York
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid
  • Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid,Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague
  • National Gallery, London
  • Palace of Versailles, France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  • State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
  • Tate Britain, London
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

And there’s more. These seventeen museums each chose one masterpiece to be photographed in 7 billion pixels or gigapixel version.

According to the Google Blog, visitors to the Google Art Project can now do all of the following:

  • Dive into brushstroke-level detail: On top of the 1,000+ other images, each of the 17 museums selected one artwork to be photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or “gigapixel” photo-capturing technology. Each of these images contains around 7 billion pixels—that’s that’s around 1,000 times more detailed than your average digital camera—and a specially-built “microscope view” uses Picasa to deliver these images at amazingly high resolution. You can zoom in to see Van Gogh’s famous brushwork or watch how previously hard to-see elements of an artwork suddenly become clear—such as the tiny Latin couplet which appears in Hans Holbein the Younger’s “The Merchant Georg Gisze.”

  • Explore inside the museums: the Street View team designed a brand-new vehicle called the “trolley” to take 360-degree images of the interior of selected galleries. These were then stitched together and mapped to their location, enabling smooth navigation of more than 385 rooms within the museums. We also created a new clickable annotation feature, so you can jump from being inside a museum one moment to viewing a particular artwork the next. Once inside an image, an info panel lets you read more about an artwork, find more works by that artist and watch related YouTube videos. Gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps.

Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy—with a view on Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”

  • Create your own collection: With the “Create an Artwork Collection” feature, you can save specific views of any of the artworks and build your own personalized collection. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends, family or on the web using the integrated URL shortener.

You’re absolutely and immediately going to want to share these links with art teachers, art students, and art lovers:

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. A-m-a-z-i-n-g indeed! Thank you for spotlighting this resource, Joyce.


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