Staatliche Museen zu Berlin expand Google Art Project

When the website was launched in February 2011, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin was the only German partner to participate in the Art Project, providing access to the Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie. With the latest expansion, the Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum), the Altes Museum and the Kupferstichkabinett can now be explored online too. The expanded version of the Art Project can be viewed online at www.googleartproject.com

The Art Project is a collaboration between Google and 155 partners across 40 countries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Britain in London and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It enables art lovers and interested parties to discover the treasures of museums and art collections around the world in a new way.

360° images of the interiors of museums were recorded using Google’s Street-View technology. Users can take virtual tours of the museums, select artworks that they are interested in and learn more about them with the click of a mouse. Images, text, audio files or videos offer extensive information on the artists, the artworks and collections. It is possible to embark on a virtual tour through a total of 46 of the museums taking part in the project in this manner, including the Altes Museum and the Pergamonmuseum as well as the Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Artworks marked in the tours can be opened as high-resolution photographs. The images are complemented by comprehensive descriptions and information on the history, art-historical genres, eras or geographical details related to the works as well as biographies of the artists. High-resolution images of more than 30 000 objects are available in the picture database. Alongside the images of paintings, sculptures and archaeological exhibits, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has uploaded works from the collection of prints and drawings at the Kupferstichkabinett. These highly light sensitive works on paper, which usually have to be protected in storage, have now been made permanently accessible to a wider audience on the Internet.

Added to that are gigapixel photographs of selected exhibits. Each one of these gigapixel photos is composed of about seven billion pixels, which allows the viewer to examine even the smallest details of the artwork not visible to the naked eye. The ancient Roman ‘Centaur Mosaic’ from the Altes Museum and a striding lion from the Processional Way of Babylon at the Pergamonmuseum have been incorporated as gigapixel photographs. The Alte Nationalgalerie opted for Édouard Manet’s ‘In the Conservatory’ and the Gemäldegalerie for ‘The Merchant Georg Gisze’ by Hans Holbein the Younger.

The ‘Create an Artwork Collection’ feature allows viewers to create their own personal collection of images of objects from different museums. Details from pictures can also be saved, commented on or shared by email or through social networks.

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