Explore Islamic Art with Google

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The Museum of Islamic Art Qatar on Google Art Project

Have you heard of the Google Art Project? It’s a fascinating project that takes you inside a variety of museums and art galleries around the world, 151 museums in 40 countries to be specific, some of these museums can be explored via the Street View, which makes you feel as if you actually in the museum. Google just announced the addition of two Middle Eastern museums to its Art Project collection, The Mathaf and The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

The Google Art Project comprises more than 30,000 high resolution objects, including paintings, sculpture, street art, and photographs from a wide variety of cultures and civilizations including Brazilian street graffiti to Islamic decorative arts and ancient African rock and more, and it’s not only about museums and art galleries, you can actually take a tour in the White House.

Significant technical improvements have been undertaken. Street View images are now displayed in finer quality than the original version. Users may browse the content by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, collections and the time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to create even more engaging personal galleries.

Key features of Google’s expanded Art Project:
Explore museums with Street View technology: using this feature, people can move around the gallery virtually on www.googleartproject.com, selecting works of art that interest them and clicking to discover more or diving into the high resolution images, where available.

A specially designed Street View ‘trolley’ took 360 degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of over 385 rooms within the museums. The gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps.

The Museum of Islamic Art Qatar on Google Art Project

Super high resolution feature artworks:
Super high resolution feature artworks: around 40 museums selected one artwork to be photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology. Each such image contains around 7 billion pixels, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye. Hard to see details suddenly become clear such as the tiny Latin couplet which appears in Hans Holbein the Younger’s ‘The Merchant Georg Gisze’. Or the people hidden behind the tree in Ivanov’s ‘The Apparition of Christ to the People’.

In addition, museums provided images for a selection totaling more than 28,000 works of art. The resolution of these images, combined with a custom built zoom viewer, allows art-lovers to discover minute aspects of paintings they may never have seen up close before, such as the miniaturized people in the river of El Greco’s ‘View of Toledo’, or individual dots in Seurat’s ‘Grandcamp, Evening’

The White House

Create your own collection:
The ‘Create an Artwork Collection’ feature allows users to save specific views of any of artworks and build their own personalised collection. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends and family. It’s an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections.

Discover, search, and explore:
With such large collection is was important for Googles to provide the tools that allow users to explore across partners using the discover tool, and then further explore artworks by that artist across all collections. A custom search integration makes it easier than ever to browse through collections, and find what your are looking instantly.

Multi platform support:
With this launch Google has brought the Art Project to the tablet. The experience of viewing Art on a tablet and browsing through rich content truly comes to life. Currently it supports the Android platform and will have the iPad version ready post launch.

The Museum of Islamic Art Qatar on Google Art Project
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Samer Marzouq

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