Google Art Project

May 18, 2012 by

The great museums of the world are invaluable, but they’re not necessarily cheap. Many have high entrance fees, and of course there’s the cost of actually traveling to them.

Armchair travelers can now rejoice, thanks to a little-known project by Google that recently ushered in the age of the armchair museum visit. Google Art Project pulls together high-resolution images of famous art from all over the world — more than 30,000 works of art from 150 collections in 40 countries.

Famous names include the Met and the MoMA, the Uffizi, the Hermitage, several Smithsonian museums, and the National Gallery in London. There are paintings, drawing, and photographs, plus sculpture, architecture, and religious artifacts.

While the online experience lacks the silent awe of standing in front of great art, it offers several advantages. You can read about the art without fighting for space in front of the little wall card. You can browse audio and video guides by art scholars. You can zoom in for an extreme close-up without getting yelled at by a security guard. You can traverse the globe to view a single artist’s work across multiple museums, or create your own virtual museum by saving favorite pieces to a personal collection to visit again and again.

Many museums even offer an interactive “museum view” (similar to Street View on Google Maps) that lets you navigate around the work’s real-life setting. And of course, you can do it all for free, in your pajamas at 2 a.m., without ever leaving your couch.

Image: Google Blog

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    […] to check out even more art from your armchair? Head over to the Google Art Project, which showcases 30,000 works of art from 40 different […]

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