Photo: “De Nachtwacht” (1642) by Rembrandt van Rijn at the Rijksmuseum
Google Arts & Culture (formerly Google Art Project) is an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative’s partner museums. The project was launched on 1 February 2011 by Google through its Google Cultural Institute, in cooperation with 17 international museums, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; and the Uffizi, Florence.
The digital platform utilizes high-resolution image technology and enables users to virtually tour partner museums’ galleries, explore physical and contextual information about artworks, and compile their own virtual collection. The “walk-through” feature of the project uses Google’s Street View technology, and partner museums could select one artwork to be captured as a gigapixel image (with over 1 billion pixels).
On April 3, 2012, Google announced a major expansion to the platform as it signed partnership agreements with 151 museums from 40 countries. The platform now features more than 32,000 artworks from 46 museums, and image acquisition is underway at the remaining partner museums. This expansion includes works from institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario, the White House, the Australian Rock Art Gallery at Griffith University, the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Google also launched a second version of the website with new Google+ features, enhanced search capabilities, and a series of educational tools. The platform is now available in 18 languages, including English, Japanese, Indonesian, French, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese. Source: Wikipedia