Even the Art world can’t help but catching up with the digital revolution. After the first ever digital online Art Fair you can now take a virtual wander through 17 of the biggest museums world wide.
Using the technique of Google Street View you can view 285 rooms with over a thousand art works and spin around 360 degrees until you get dizzy. Whether it be the Palace of Versailles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Britain in London, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, you don’t have to expect any waiting in line at the entrance or tip toeing around visitors blocking the view to your favorite painting. No one will judge you by the way you look, smell or behave. You can smoke a cigarette, leave coffee stains…now I come to think of it, you don’t even have to get dressed. All you need to enjoy an artsy afternoon since Google Art Project, is a computer and a decent internet connection.
From each collection the selected museums chose one work of art that Google photographed in gigapixel, sometimes up to 14 billion pixel. This way you can zoom into the smallest cracks in Rembrandts De Nachtwacht while not having to worry about anybody seeing you scratching yours.
Only the navigation is a bit painful. Just like with Google Street View you can only go certain routes. At one point it only took me a click and I landed out on the street outside on the street. Additionally you cannot actually see all the paintings of the permanent collection of each museum, which is a big bummer to be honest. But the resolution of the art work you can view is amazing.
Wim Pijbes, the director of the Rijksmuseum says “Nothing goes over the original, but this is the perfect tool to share our world heritage with everybody.” And right he is. Although I doubt that philistines will suddenly start developing an interest in world heritages it is a great chance to see art collections you wouldn’t have a chance to visit physically. And I always wanted to wander through the Tate Modern in pajamas.