Sunday, 13 February 2011


“Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.” - Henry David Thoreau

Google is a big company that has become very successful on the back of the net revolution. It is innovative and ground-breaking in many areas and can be very influential. Sure enough, the bottom line is profit, but Google also has lots of nice freebies and it appears that it has a social conscience as well. It hosts Blogger, for example, and here I am using it and being grateful for this blog hosting service. As well as that there are various other projects of scientific or artistic merit.

For example, the Google Earth project is a geographer’s dream come true and this is now being used by all sorts of other enquiring minds for study and discovery. For example, there are many arm-chair archaeologists that are viewing Google Earth sites and making discoveries from the comfort of their own living room. The case of the Australian archaeologist who made some interesting archaeological discoveries in Saudi Arabia through Google Earth was recently reported.

The amazing Body Browser (you need the Google Chrome Beta browser to view this!) is a fantastic anatomical tool that will delight, educate and make the life of many an anatomy student easier. It presents a body, which can be electronically “dissected” layer by layer, organ system by organ system, rotated and magnified, labelled and viewed in all sorts of anatomical views. It’s a complete anatomical atlas and it’s free! This is an amazing resource that will no doubt find use in educational settings, but also it a wonderful tool for the artist.

Google has now embarked on a wonderful new venture, which is called the Google Art Project. This consists of a collaboration between Google and 17 of the world’s top art galleries and museums, to give you a “Street-view” type of approach to the world’s most famous art. You can view 1,061 magnificent artworks, but there are also 17 special “gigapixel images” – one image for each participating institution’s most treasured piece, allowing viewers to zoom right in to brush-stroke level of detail. Over the past 18 months, a Google team has been going around museums like Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Palace of Versailles using trolley mounted cameras to photograph corridors and galleries. Users can explore each gallery from room to room and create their own collections of masterpieces.

Here is how it was done:

The 17 participating museums and galleries are:
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin - Germany
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC - USA
The Frick Collection, NYC - USA
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin - Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - USA
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC - USA
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid - Spain
Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid - Spain
Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
National Gallery, London - UK
Palace of Versailles - France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - Russia
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - Russia
Tate Britain, London - UK
Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands

Here is Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” like you’ve never seen it before! You can zoom in and see every little brushstroke and crack in the paint, every nuance of colour and every touch of the master artist’s creative trail. It is an example of the “gigapixel” data paintings and gives an amazing insight into this remarkably beautiful work (see detail above).


  1. This will make an enormous difference to students, researchers and lecturers, but it might also make a difference to travellers and art lovers.

    I wish there were Australian art galleries in that list.

  2. What an amazing idea! It looks fabulous. this is something that I will go back to again and again! Thanks for posting it!

  3. This is an informative overview of the Google project. I like your closeup of a classic painting. This is better than being there?!!

  4. WOWWWWW!!!!!
    Fantastic Nic!!! Thanks for sharing.....