Google Art Project

There’s a surprise of some kind every time you turn to googleartproject.com. The curators who run it begin each viewing session with a tiny sliver of a different masterpiece. What you see first is something minuscule, blown up into something huge.

A corner of someone’s fancy jacket, digitally blown up, resembles a mural. An image of tree bark in a landscape appears on screen as an abstract painting.

These opening salvos are offered partly in the Google spirit of fun, as a test you find yourself taking before you know it’s happening. (I failed.)

More important, they remind us what the curators have accomplished and how we can use their technology. Over the last 18 months’ they have assembled and digitally photographed about 1,000 pictures from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery in London and 14 other renowned cultural warehouses.

This allows us to study the art, and perhaps enjoy it, from new angles. Clicking our way, we move in deeper than the eye can see, even with routine magnification. Digital photography takes us right down to the smallest brush strokes.

via A new way of seeing. Robert Fulford

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