Posts Tagged ‘Google Art Project’

New Hi-Res Vermeer Images

August 2nd, 2013
detail of Johannes Vermeer's Music Lesson

After a long vacation from Italy and my computer (I never vacation from Vermeer), there is lots of catching up to do. Here’s a start for digital image fans.

In conjunction with the current Vermeer exhibition Vermeer & Music: The Art of Love & Leisure, the National Gallery has published super hi-res images of the 4 authentic Vermeers which you can access by clicking here. The Lady Standing at the Virginal, the Lady Standing at the Virginal and the Guitar Player are somewhat larger than those already on the gallery’s website but the Music Lesson is by far the best digital image of the picture now publicly available (Google’s scan of the picture is downright horrible). Also included are x-ray images of the NG works. All the images are exceptionally detailed but decidedly low in contrast. If you know the pictures well, I would imagine that a little bit of contrasting in image editor will do the trick.

In any case, the IIPMooViewer is acceptably responsive but I still prefer to have the whole image on my hard disk. This requires scores and scores of screen capturing, pasting to Photoshop and aligning (nerve-racking) and, obviously, an endless reserve of patience. If any kind soul out there knows how to sidestep this gargantuan task and download the whole images, don’t hesitate to let us all know.

Google Art Project vs. Johannes Vermeer

May 28th, 2013
The Geographer, Johannes Vermeer

Detail of the Geographer on
Google’s Art Project at highest resolution.

Google can be amazing…sometimes the wrong way. From what I have gathered, the behemoth’s homegrown Art Project reflects fairly accurately their corporate mindset: despite brave-new-world ambition and claims of pushing technology to its limits, the project is sometimes unbelievably uneven in quality.

Among the latest museum additions to the Google Art Project is the Frankfurt Städelsches Kunstinstitut which houses Vermeer’s Geographer. Let me put it this way, I’d recommend you clicking on this link that takes you to the zoom feature of the picture only in the case you have a grudge with Vermeer. Its gritty, pixelated quality is simply astounding. It seems more likely that it was scanned from a weathered color 1950s transparency than from the picture itself using state-of-the-art digital imaging apparatus. On the positive side, at this point Google probably can’t do anything worse for Vermeer, although they will probably keep on trying.

BTW, can someone explain why Google Art Project lists artists by their first names?

“Is Google Art Project second-rate?” (yes)

February 11th, 2011

I’m not losing much sleep  over Google’s Art Project virtual tours and neither is Sebastian Smee at the Boston GlobeIs Google Art Project second-rate?

Compare Synthescape‘s virtual tour of the Couldtard Gallery to any on Google’s overblown shows. Some people actually get things right.

Google “Art”?

February 3rd, 2011

Google Art: Although the scans of the single paintings are admirable and perhaps even useful, the museum tours leave much, too much to desire. The Frick is especially low quality and captures literally nothing of atmosphere that makes this museum unique.  I suppose it’s all done efficiently as possible, but still, one could reasonably expect more from Google. Wheeling around a hi-tech camera cart up and down the halls does not guarantee results no matter how much the devise costs and even if your name is Google. Technology must be used sensibly or otherwise we just get just one more silly toy.  D- for effort, there are other realities outside Silicon Valley.

Something to Smile About

February 2nd, 2011

Google has recently added some extremely detailed (and nuanced) digital images of Vermeer’s works in their googleartproject Google Art Project collection. So far, I have discovered these… Enjoy please.

The Love Letter
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/rijks/the-love-letter-44

The Little Street
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/rijks/view-of-houses-in-delft-known-as-the-little-street-46

The Milkmaid
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/rijks/the-milkmaid-48

Woman with a Pearl Necklace
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/gemaldegalerie/young-woman-with-a-pearl-necklace-98

Officer and Laughing Girl
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/frick/officer-and-laughing-girl-6

The Glass of Wine
http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/gemaldegalerie/the-glass-of-wine-100

Googling at the Prado

January 20th, 2009

With the usual hoopla Google has launched a virtual tour of the Prado Museum in Madrid that enables visitors to closely examine 14 of its masterpieces on their computers monitors. A Google spokesman said: “The paintings have been photographed in very high resolution and contain as many as 14,000 million pixels (14 gigapixels).

“With this high level resolution you are able to see fine details such as the tiny bee on a flower in The Three Graces (by Rubens), delicate tears on the faces of the figures in The Descent from the Cross (by Roger van der Weyden) and complex figures in The Garden of Earthly Delights (by Bosch).”

While broadening the access to digital images of art works is welcomed news, it remains to be seen what real need this initiative may ultimately fulfill. What is Google’s commitment to art other than drumming up one-time novel seekers and sprinkling their brand with a bit of highbrow culture? Personal experience has shown me that museum goers rarely spend more than a few seconds per painting as they “do” the gallery and with special exhibitions it is not uncommon that visitors spend more time reading the accompanying brochure than looking at the objects on display.