Sure, art is supposed to imitate life, but what about technology imitating an art gallery? Fans of paintings and sculptures alike now have an even larger art collection to enjoy after the launch of phase two of the Google Art Project on Tuesday. The latest step adds 100 museums around the world, and now includes one from Canada: The Art Gallery of Ontario.
The partnership between Google and the AGO digitizes 58 pieces of art by 52 artists and is expected to help fans of Canadian art outside the country enjoy a museum experience from the comfort of their own laptop.
"We're expecting prominence in the global community and increasing the dialogue about art around the world," said Virginia Vuleta, the deputy director of I.T. and new media at the AGO.
The Project lets users see a microscopic view of the artwork by allowing them to zoom in close enough to view, say, Tom Thomson's individual brush strokes on the trees in his "Path Behind Mowat Lodge". Using 'gigapixel' photo technology, which are essentially high-end cameras designed specifically for the project, Google captured different sculptures and paintings in high resolution images -- with some photos featuring as many as 7 billion pixels.
The online gallery also showcases the work of museums in 39 other countries and takes users on virtual tours to places like Japan's Adachi Museum Of Art via Google's "street view" function (more commonly recognized by users of Google Maps).
For the time being, the AGO is the only Canadian art gallery included in the project, brings the running total of participating museums to 151. But that's not a final number -- Google Canada spokesperson Wendy Rozeluk says she expects growth soon.
"Like the the name suggests, this is very much a project and it'll continue to grow as the technology grows and as more museums and galleries join," said Rozeluk.
The Google Art Project may let you view works of art inside many museums, but let's not forget that the outside of these museums are works of art themselves. Here's a list of 10 gorgeous museums and art galleries included in the Project: