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Google lets you virtually explore museums with Art Project

David Ludlow
2 Feb 2011
Google lets you virtually explore museums with Art Project
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Like Street View, but for those looking for culture

If the long queues and bustling interiors of the world's best museums are enough to put you off visiting, Google has the answer with its Art Project.

Essentially like Street View, but for museums, Art Project lets you virtually wander the people-free halls of top art galleries inspecting the paintings at your leisure.

There are currently 17 of the world's best museums available to tour, including the National Gallery in London, the Museo Thyssen in Madrid, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Street View technology lets you 'walk' around your chosen destination, while an additional button lets you view a painting in a high-resolution digital image. It's impressive the level of detail on offer. Looking at Rembrandt's Night Watch we could zoom all the way in to see every paint stroke and even the individual cracks in the paintwork.

Menus let you jump to a specific museum of image, with search boxes making it easy to find what you're looking for. If you don't like being restricted to the confines of what one museum can offer, you can build your own by creating an artwork collection.

Currently there are more than 1,000 bits of art available, but the number should grow as more paintings and galleries are captured. However, some artworks are off limits and blurred out due to copyright issues, so you may need to pay a visit in person after all.

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