Google Expands Art Project Globally

As part of a major global expansion of its Art Project, Google has signed new partnerships with 151 art institutions in 40 countries. More than 30,000 objects are now available to view online in high resolution, up from 1,000 in the first version of the Art Project. Street View images now cover 46 museums, with more on the way.

With a few simple clicks, art lovers can discover not just paintings, but also sculpture, street art, photographs, historic and religious artifacts, and important manuscripts.Creations from a wide variety of cultures and civilizations are represented, including Brazilian street graffiti, Islamic decorative arts and ancient African rock art.

Imaging experts photograph paintings at the Chateau De Fountainbleau in France.
Imaging experts photograph paintings at the Chateau De Fountainbleau in France.

The expanded Art Project includes a wide range of institutions, including large and small traditional art museums as well as less traditional settings for great art, including the White House in Washington D.C.

Some of the new partners in the U.S. include the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina.

New partners worldwide include: the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Colombia; The Rock Art Ressearch Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa; The Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar; the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil; the Tokyo National Museum in Japan; the Hong Kong Museum of Art in China; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia.

According to Art Project head Amit Sood, the project was expanded worldwide because “It’s no longer just about the Indian student wanting to visit Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American student wanting to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.”

How the Google Art Project Works

If you want to explore museums around the world without leaving home, you can enjoy either a “museum view” of various galleries within selected museums or get a “microscopic view” of selected artwork from each institution.

For the museum views, a specially designed Street View ‘trolley’ took 360 degree images of the interiors of selected galleries. These images were then stitched together to enable smooth navigation within each room. The gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps.

Some of the 30,000+ high-resolution artworks were photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology. Gigapixel imaging technology can create files containing more than 7 billion pixels (about 1000 times more detailed than the average camera). With these super-high-resolution images, you can study details of the brushwork and patina beyond what is possible with the naked eye.

Discovering, Learning, and Sharing

You can browse the content of Google’s Art Project by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, the city and the collection. Using new Explore and Discover tools, you can find artworks by period, artist, or type of artwork from different museums around the world.

To help you learn more about the items each museum chose to display on Art Project, you can enjoy expertly narrated videos, audio guides, viewing notes, and other resources provided by the museums.

With the My Gallery feature, you can select any of the 30,000 artworks (along with favorite details) and build your own personalized gallery. You can add comments to each painting and share the whole collection with friends, family, and study groups. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site to make it easy to share and talk about your galleries. You can upload and share audio and video content to your collections.

Some teachers have already begun using the Art Project in their classrooms. A dedicated Education section has been created for teachers and students.

For the next phase of the project, Google is considering developing an experimental section to show how artists are using new emerging technologies to showcase their art.  

Bringing Culture Online

“Google is committed to bringing all types of culture online and making it accessible,” says Nelson Mattos, VP of Engineering for Google. “The Art Project demonstrates how the Internet helps spread knowledge.”

Under the auspices of its Cultural Institute, Google is producing 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.


Google Art Project

Art Project YouTube Channel


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