Google Launches Art Project

History

If you are a die-hard art lover and wish to travel to the most marvellous museums of the world, well then itís all just a click away! With www.googleartproject.com, you can sit right at home and catch a glimpse of paintings like Botticelli's historic Birth of Venus or walk through the hallways of the Palace of Versailles. In collaboration with 17 of the world's most popular museums, the project has been created to allow visitors to view 1,061 artworks by 486 renowned artists from the last few centuries. One can also enjoy a 360 degrees view of the interiors of a few select museums. The site enables navigation through 385 rooms within the museums and the same can also be explored from within the Street View in Google Maps. What's more, you can zoom in and out of the paintings to study the details and brush strokes of the collections. Here are a few of the famous artworks featured in the project.

 

YOUNG KNIGHT IN A LANDSCAPE
Located at Museo Thyssen in Madrid, Spain

Young Knight in a Landscape was painted by Vittore Carpaccio in 1510. It is one of the earliest examples of a fulllength portrait in European painting. The canvas, signed and dated by Carpaccio on a cartellino to the right of the figure, was attributed to Durer until 1919. A number of theories have been advanced regarding the identity of the figure. There is something troubling about both the young knight, dressed in armour and about to unsheathe his sword, and the landscape in which he is placed, with its detailed depictions of flora and fauna and references to good and evil.

 

THE STATUE OF JUPITER
Located at the State Hermitage Museum at St Petersburg in Russia

The Statue of Jupiter was made by a Roman Flavian sculptor in the 1st Century. The composition and manner of execution of the statue, as well as its character, reminds one of the renowned Zeus by Phidias, made for the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The statue of Zeus was listed among the Seven Wonders of the World during antiquity and was overlaid with gold and ivory. In imitation of this so called chryselephantine technique, the Roman sculp sculptor used marble, gilded wood and stucco for his Jupiter. The statue has features typical of Flavian art, such as pompousness, emotion and dynamism.

 

THE TENT OF DARIUS: (THE QUEENS OF PERSIA AT THE FEET OF ALEXANDER)
Located at the Palace of Versailles, Paris, France

This painting was created in the 17th Century by Charles Le Brun. In this scene from the life of Alexander the Great, the Persian Queens lie at Alexander's feet soon after his victory at Issus in 333. Post this work Charles Le Brun won the admiration of Louis XIV who confirmed him in his post as Official Painter of the King. This masterpiece has received great acclaim.

 

THE DANCING LESSON
Located at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This masterpiece by Jan Steen is of a group of children teaching a cat to dance to the music of a shawm, a 17th Century wind instrument. They are clearly enjoying themselves, but the cat is screeching its displeasure and the dog is barking loudly. An old man angrily reprimands the children from a window high in the wall of the room. The artwork brings to life the ear splitting din of the scene.

 

THE APPARITION OF THE MESSIAH
Located at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

The Apparition of Christ to the People, also known as the Apparition of the Messiah, was painted in the 18th Century by Aleksander Ivanov. Aleksander referred to the plot as "global" to show a turning point in human history. In the centre of the picture stands John the Baptist, baptising people in Jordan and pointing at Jesus walking downhill. To the right of John, the group of apostles is shown in a receding manner. The figure nearest to Christ resembles Nikolai Gogol, a Russian writer. The artist also evidently showed himself in the figure of a wanderer with a walking stick, sitting close to John.

 

MOTHER AND CHILDREN: (LA PROMENADE)
Located at The Frick Collection in New York, USA

Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted the marvellous Mother and Children (La Promenade) in 1876. The unusual scale of this Impressionist picture would suggest that it was one of the society portraits Renoir was painting on commission in his early years, but evidence proves otherwise. Furthermore, when the artist exhibited the work at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876, he entitled it simply La Promenade. Among the most popular paintings in The Frick Collection, this painting depicts two little girls in their fur-trimmed outfits being gently eased forward by their mother, or governess, as if they were about to greet someone. The cool palette dominated by blues, greens and lavender, conveys the feel of early spring. 

 

THE DELUGE
Located at the Tate, Britain, UK

The Deluge by Francis Danby was created around 1840 and it showcases the brilliant ability of the artist to portray a tragedy. The subject is from the Old Testament's Book of Genesis. God sends a flood to punish mankindís wickedness but allows Noah and his family to be saved. The painting shows Noah's Ark is in the background,lit up by a shaft of moonlight. A stormy sea rages around a rocky peak and massive tree branches to which humans and animals are clinging desperately. A blood-red sun can be seen setting to the left. In the lower right hand corner, an angel weeps over the death of a child.

 

BRIDGE IN THE RAIN: (AFTER HIROSHIGE)
Located at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Bridge in the Rain by Van Gogh was painted in 1887 and depicts his interest in Japanese art. The borders of this painting are filled with calligraphic figures borrowed from Japanese prints. One distinction with regard to the original Bridge in the Rain is the use of colour. After Hiroshige, Van Gogh used different, brighter colours or enhanced the colour contrasts.