An introduction to Google Arts & Culture: The gallery of everything
At a time when the world’s museums and galleries are closed for the foreseeable future and our cultural and entertainment horizons now stretch no further than the walls of our homes, where can we find our fix of art of all kinds?
There is one place that has been around and developing for a few years, but has come into its own in recent weeks – Google Arts & Culture.
For those of you who have yet to visit the platform, you might want to put aside a few days or weeks to start to get to grips with all it offers.
Google Arts & Culture launched in 2011 with 17 partner museums, including the National Gallery in London, the Uffizi in Florence and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. By visiting the site, you could take a virtual tour of any of these museums, and view the art within, including information on the artworks displayed.
Since then, the platform has expanded massively, and now puts over 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries around the world at your fingertips. Not only can you take tours of the buildings, but you can create your own art collection, use their educational resources, and watch and listen to video and audio content. You can take a tour of the White House, see Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings, explore Mayan culture or take a ride on the Indian rail system, all without leaving your sofa.
There are more than 7,000 digital exhibitions available on the platform at present, taking in over six million photos, documents, videos and other items of cultural interest.
As you might expect, Google have continued to look for new ways for you to enjoy what’s offered. For example, you can use a Google Cardboard viewer to enjoy a full 360º virtual reality view. And their Art Camera allows images to be created made up of over one billion pixels, such a high resolution that you can view over 5,000 artworks in incredible detail on your screen.
Google Arts & Culture is an initiative that comes under the aegis of the Google Cultural Institute. The Institute has a wider remit, also aiming to make global heritage sites more accessible online and archiving millions of searchable digital objects, ranging from the Nelson Mandela archives to the work of street artists from all over the world.
To take advantage of all that Google Arts & Culture offers simply download their app, which is available on the web, on iOS and Android.
Then get out there and see some art. Virtually.
Image: Matt Blease