Unplugged: Go on a virtual museum tour


So you have a problem. You love art. Your favourite thing to do when travelling is discovering that particular region’s museums and art galleries. Your next holiday isn’t until June and you’re stuck at work and the weekend seems to be taking its sweet time getting here. Well, despair not! Google, once again, is here to rescue you.

An reproduction of Van Gogh's Starry Night, one of the artworks on display in the Google Art Project.

 

The Google Art Project is a collective, additive work in progress that allows any museum or art-related organization to join and upload as many high-resolution images of artworks as it chooses. It first launched in 2011 as an extension of Google’s Streetview in which real views of streets from across the world are captured and displayed on screen. At the time, the project offered viewers a 360 degree tour of 17 museums and 1000 artworks. Last week, the greatly expanded second iteration of this online compilation of self-selected art museums and artworks was unveiled, making available images of more than 32,000 works in 31 mediums and materials, from the collections of 151 museums and arts organizations worldwide.

You won’t be able to see any of the pieces you so fondly remember from your last visit to Paris’ Louvre or the Centre Pampidou for that matter, since they have stubbornly refused to grant Google access to their collection. Or even any Picasso, for that matter, due to a right’s issue. But you’ll be able to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night for now, and Rembrandt’s Night watch among others. Other works from museums as varied as London’s National Gallery, to the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, and even The White House are all displayed on the site.

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