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March 10, 2011

Google Art Project — Street View gets up close and personal with masterpieces


Excerpts from Mark Brown's February 2, 2011 Wired article follow.


Google has taken its 360-degree Street View cameras into some of the world's most famous and acclaimed art galleries, opening their collections to the internet.

From the Tate Britain in London to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Google Art Project currently lets you browse 385 rooms in 17 galleries and see more than 1,000 works by 486 artists.

Each of the 17 galleries has selected one piece of artwork to be photographed in staggeringly high resolution, with each of the 17 images containing around 7 billion pixels. Zoom in close enough and you can see individual brushstrokes, hairline cracks in the canvas and microscopic details that are almost invisible to the naked eye — like tiny Latin messages scrawled on Hans Holbein the Younger's "The Merchant Georg Gisze" (below) in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.


"It's our first step toward making great art more accessible," said project lead Amit Sood on the Google blog, "and we hope to add more museums and works of art in time."

Instead of cars, the team used the Street View tricycle for open spaces, and a more-compact vertical trolley for the halls.

The pushcart — "lovingly dubbed Trolley," writes Google's Jonathan Siegel — features a panoramic camera, lasers to calculate distances to the walls, motion sensors to track the rig's position, a hard drive to store the huge images and a laptop to operate it.

Interestingly enough, while Google has set up a bespoke website for the art gallery tours, you can also leap into buildings from Google Maps itself. Some museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, let you drop Pegman (the Google Street View icon) directly onto a map of the gallery, while others let you enter from the street with a new double-arrow icon.


At the top: detail of Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night" (1889; Museum of Modern Art, New York City).

[via Richard Kashdan]

March 10, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Wonderful find!

The Latin translates to: "I Love Book of Joe."

Posted by: lawlibrarian | Mar 10, 2011 2:34:04 PM

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