Art lovers around the world no longer need to travel to hundreds of museums to examine the most famous paintings, sculptures and artifacts. Google and many of the world’s museums have teamed up to bring the art to them.
The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University is one Bay Area museum partnering with Google Art Project. More than 100 high-resolution artifacts from Cantor’s collection are already online. The works of art, only a small fraction of Cantor’s 36,000-piece collection, span 3,000 years of human history.
The museum’s most famous piece, “The Last Spike,” was among the first artifacts to make a digital debut. It’s the ceremonial golden spike that was forged in San Francisco and connected the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads to form the nation’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869.
“Our purpose is to make art accessible in whatever way we can,” said Connie Wolf, director the Cantor Arts Center. “We know that there are people all over the world who may never get to a museum. But we want to make sure people have access to art in high-definition though this project.”
Google Art Project allows online visitors to zoom in and explore the art online. They can save their favorite works in personal galleries and share them with friends. Each piece includes a description and information about the artist.
“The Google Art Project uses a combination of technologies and information provided by our museum partners to really create a unique online experience, so people can explore a wide range of artwork at brushstroke-level detail,” said Google spokesperson Rebecca Ginsberg.