Google Art Project Expands to 30,000 pieces from 151 Museums in 40 countries

APR:2012 by Jamillah -UK Editor for The Next Web.
Intended to bring some of the greatest works of art directly to your computer, the original Art Project launched last year with partnerships with 17 museums in nine countries and 1,000 images.

The collection has gradually expanded, and today, Google bumped that number up to 30,000 high-resolution images.

Amit Sood, head of the Google Art Project, explained on the official Google blog how interest in the Art Project grew:

Since we introduced the Art Project last year, curators, artists and viewers from all over the globe have offered exciting ideas about how to enhance the experience of collecting, sharing and discovering art. Institutions worldwide asked to join the project, urging us to increase the diversity of artworks displayed.

Now culture fans will be able to explore sculpture, street art and photographs from 151 museums in 40 countries.

Street View images are now displayed in finer quality. A specially designed Street View “trolley” took 360-degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of more than 385 rooms within the museums. You can also explore the gallery interiors directly from within Street View in Google Maps.

Google is seeking more partners in the United States, Europe and emerging markets. It says the service won’t generate revenue, including through advertising, though it gave no figures.

“Everyone asks me if we have Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa,’ ” said Amit Sood, who heads the project. “We’re talking to people from the Louvre. Maybe they’ll be part of the next phase,” he said of the world’s most visited museum. The Louvre press office declined to comment.

The Israel Museum already had the Dead Sea Scrolls online; they were viewed by 1 million visitors from more than 200 countries in about three days.

The Google Art Project now has 46 artworks available with “gigapixel” photo capturing technology, photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution. This means that the brushwork and patina of paintings can be explored with the naked eye and no chance of setting off alarms.

According to the Google Blog,

 “The Art Project is part of our efforts to bringing culture online and making it accessible the widest possible audience. Under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, we’re presenting high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing the archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela, and creating 3D models of 18th century French cities.”

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Our image server at not only features festival and travel photos but also art and history that inform great annual cultural traditions. We are glad to see these 151 Museums open up to a conversation regarding the art we should get to know better.  

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