Philadelphia Museum of Art on Google Art Project

Philadelphia Museum of Art on Google Art Project: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Jan van Eyck, John Singer Sargent, Kano Hogai, Peter Paul Rubens, Eduard Charlemont, Canaletto
The already amazing Google Art Project, which brings us beautiful zoomable full-screen high-resolution images of highlights from many of the world’s great museums, continues to get more amazing as more museums are added to the list.

This is particularly valuable as many of the museums featured do not provide large images of works in their collections on their own websites.

One of the more recently added museums is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This is the first time I’ve seen the GAP collection highlight choices for a museum for which I am familiar with a not insignificant percentage of the collection, and I have to say the choices left me puzzled and wondering about how these selections are made in general.

While some of the selections from the PMA are indeed representative of the gems in the museum’s world-class collection, others left me scratching my head (above which hovered a though balloon containing a bright neon blinking “WTF?!”).

Again and again I found myself thinking: “They choose this piece when all of these other amazing works are in the collection?”. And I’m not just talking about leaving out some of my personal favorites (they included some and left out many, but that’s to be expected); I’m thinking in terms of works from the same era, medium and genre as some of the works chosen that would have been much better representations of the museum’s collection.

In some ways it’s almost as if some of the best pieces were deliberately held back (and these are in the public domain so it’s not a question of rights), or even as if selections were in some ways made at random.

It makes me wonder now about the selections from other museums throughout the Google Art Project.

At any rate, optimal selections or not, there are enough gems to keep you dazzled and fascinated for a good while, particularly in light of the ability to zoom way in on these images in high resolution.

As usual with the Google Art Project, I’ll give you my Timesink Warning.

(Images above: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Jan van Eyck, John Singer Sargent, Kano Hogai, Peter Paul Rubens, Eduard Charlemont, Canaletto)

 
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Brooklyn Museum on Google Art Project

Brooklyn Museum on Google Art Project: William Merritt Chase, Samuel Coleman, Claude Monet, Martin Johnson Heade, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Courbet, Childe Hassam, John Linton Chapman, Theodore Robinson
The Brooklyn Museum, as I reported back in 2010, is a terrific and underrated museum of art and artifacts that exists in the shadow of larger and better known museums in Manhattan.

The museum’s collection contains superb examples of American and European painting, some of which you can now view online in glorious detail by way of the Google Art Project.

Among the paintings in the museum is one of my all time favorites, “Studio Interior” by William Merritt Chase. This wonderful painting of a figure in an interior also contains a beautiful still life, as my detail crops from the Google Art Project enlargement show (images above, top three).

This link will give you the Brooklyn Museum page on GAP in small thumbnail mode (you can choose larger preview images at lower left). You may want to additionally click the “Filter” button at upper right, click “Filter by Medium” in the range that appears and mouse over the squares to choose a medium, such as “Oil Painting”, to narrow down the results.

As I usually do when directing readers to the amazing Google Art Project, I’ll issue my customary Time Sink Warning.

(Images above: William Merritt Chase [top three], Samuel Coleman, Claude Monet, Martin Johnson Heade, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Courbet, Childe Hassam, John Linton Chapman, Theodore Robinson)

 
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1880’s paintings from Wikimedia Commons

1880's paintings from Wikimedia Commons: William Merritt Chase, Ivan Shishkin, Henryk Hector Siemiradzki, Willem de Zwart, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Burne-Jones, Jacob Maris, Giovanni Fattori, Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov, Émile Schuffnecker, Edouard Manet
Taking another dip into the extensive art image resources on the Wikimedia Commons website, I’m once again finding delight in the ability to sort paintings by decade (or year) and browse a wonderful assortment of artists, subjects and styles.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, gleaning a few paintings off their generalized “1880’s paintings” page, from which you can dive into much greater detail going into individual years or artists.

Though the images are not as consistently large as, say, the Google Art Project, and the image quality is hit and miss — the extent, variety and ability to sort by various criteria make the site an art browsing treasure and a Major Time Sink.

(Images above: William Merritt Chase, Ivan Shishkin, Henryk Hector Siemiradzki, Willem de Zwart, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Burne-Jones, Jacob Maris, Giovanni Fattori, Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov, Émile Schuffnecker, Edouard Manet)

 
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J.M.W. Turner on Google Art Project

J.M.W. Turner on Google Art Project
More visual splendor from the terrific new version of the Google Art Project: over 236 artworks by Joseph Mallord William Turner from various museums, with which to mark his birthdate of April 23rd, 1775.

The images range from his luminous paintings, with their striking, light filled landscapes, to sketches, drawings and watercolors, both roughly indicated and polished.

I particularly enjoy being able to tour through some of his lesser known drawings in detail.

Though all of the images aren’t in the super-high resolution that is the hallmark of the best reproductions in the Google Art Project, all are at least large enough images to make seeking them out worthwhile.

There is a video on YouTube from the Frick Collection, that references the project and focuses on two of Turners harbor scenes.

 
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Norman Rockwell Museum on Google Art Project

Norman Rockwell Museum on Google Art Project: Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, William Smedley,  Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Pyle
Wow, am I ever enjoying the recently updated Google Art Project (as I reported recently).

Despite my own Time Sink Warning, I’ve been pulled back here way too often. I found this morning that among the cornucopia of art from the newly added museums is the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts.

The museum houses not only a broad collection of work from its namesake (which can be surprisingly diverse) but an excellent collection of work by other American illustrators. There is an article about the museum joining the project on New England Public Radio.

Though the number of pieces available on the GAP’s section for the museum is not extensive (presumably the number will grow), it’s a delight to be able to zoom in on classic illustrations like these. (Bear in mind that my screen captures have been greatly reduced in the images above, I’m just trying to give an idea of zooming scale.)

Now if only the Brandywine River Museum would follow suit.

(Artists above, with details: Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, William Smedley, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Pyle)

 
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Google Art Project expanded

Google Art Project: Edouard Mane
Google has recently expanded and improved their already amazing Google Art Project, in which they use their Google Maps “Street View” tech to offer virtual tours of museum spaces, and, more importantly, offer beautiful, zoomable high resolution images of great works of art from world class museums.

Their recent expansion adds 150 museums and galleries to their list of participating institutions, including the National Gallery in London.

When I first reported about the Google Art Project in early 2011, they had roughly 1000 images available on the site, there are now over 30,000 (though not all in highest resolution).

They have also dramatically improved the interface, which was the weak point of the original implementation and sorely in need of revision.

Instead of dealing with that horrible little scrolling list (that never displayed right in browsers other than Chrome), you can now view actual list pages and look up Collections from museums and galleries, or browse by Artists or Artworks.

If you take the trouble to create a free account (you can probably sign in with a current Google account), you can keep personal galleries of favorites, not just bookmarked, but saved with a chosen zoom level and focus selection.

You can also browse a selection of User Galleries that have been made public (sort of like an art gallery specific Pinterest).

If you view the Details page for a given work there are often videos, audio commentary, maps and a range of text information about the work and the artist.

The interface can still be a bit slow and demanding of your computer and browser (and probably still works best in Chrome), but you may just need to be patient.

The Google Art Project was already an amazing resource and is now even better and more extensive by an order of magnitude.

It also gets my highest Major Timesink Warning.

Enjoy!

(Images above: In the Conservatory, Edouard Manet from collection of Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

[Via The Guardian]

 
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