A friend of mine works for Google. He was in town recently and was telling me about one of their new projects called Google Arts & Culture. Since that conversation I have spent a lot of time exploring Arts & Culture and want to share it with you as well. It’s incredible!
With Google Arts & Culture you can “explore art collections from around the world; discover inspirational moments, iconic people, and artistic wonders. Search by time or even color.”
Essentially, Google has partnered with museums from all over the world; captured and cataloged their collections and them posted them online, for free, in hi-res images. You can zoom in on the work of your favorite artist to reveal the secrets of a masterpiece. Take virtual, 360 degree (essentially Google Street View-style) tours of the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, National Theater of Korea, Museum of Natural History in Venice, and so on. It really is amazing.
On the Google Arts & Culture homepage there is a menu on the left – select any of the options to explore by Artist, Medium, Movement, Historical events, Historical figures, and Places. No matter what you click you will find something beautiful. Select Artist and you can browse high resolution art from hundreds of artists – Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, Raphael, Freda Kahlo, and so on. Select a piece and zoom in close enough to view brush strokes:
Fan of modern art? Gothic? Minimalism? Post-modern? Whatever you like select Movements from the menu and start exploring. I clicked on the Street Art option and spent about an hour browsing all the images.
Select Medium and you can browse hundreds of different options – oil painting, ink, textiles, metal, brick, diamond, canvas, clay, wood, etc. Select a medium and view hundreds of high resolution art works in that medium.
Most of Google’s products are kept behind Google’s account wall – meaning you can’t use them unless you are signed into a Google account. This is not true for Arts & Culture – it’s open to anyone. No need to sign in. The only benefit I notice from signing into a Google account was to keep track of your favorite artworks – each piece has a little heart on it. Users can click that heart to mark it as a Favorite – to bookmark it and revisit quickly and easily or to share on social media.
It’s available as an app as well. Free from both the Apple and Google Play stores. And the app is Cardboard-ready too – meaning you can use it to take virtual reality tours of places too. Another benefit of the app: the experimental feature called the “Art Recognizer,” which lets you point your phone at an artwork in a museum and have Google instantly deliver some information about it. Google says it plans to roll the feature to museums around the world, though the company hasn’t specified when this will be completed.
Arts and Culture has so much to offer it’s difficult to even begin describing it. Basically just go there and start clicking – I guarantee you’ll find something you love.