Google Art Project


The Ambassadors, 1533, by Hans Holbein the Younger

This service is a perfect example of how the Net provides access. Access to experiences that previously required the luxury of time, travel, education and money to appreciate.

To see art masterpieces from a variety of collections, even in the form of small facsimiles, does inspire. While it does not replace seeing these works in the gallery settings; the images still have the power to stir one’s imagination. We can appreciate the capabilities of our fellow human’s interpretations of the world around them. This show of artwork from a handfull of the world’s great museums does allow us to pause and ponder our existence.

Thank you Amit Sood for helping put Google’s resources to good use. “Do no evil…”

The interface of this service is also quite nice. The weird “street view” warping as you move down hallways still reminds us that we are just at the beginning of depicting these virtual experiences. That would be one detractor, along with limited number of paintings that have full magnification.

However, the UI does allow the primary content – art images – to take center stage. Supporting functions are located around the edges of the frame. The meta data panel provides greater information for the user to really appreciate the time, place and official interpretation of the work. What I find terrific is when the museum has allowed the rich media (audio or video) to be presented with the piece. I even think that the Tate may be allowing audio clips from its audio tour to be available. Sweet!


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