Google offering chance to see fine art in greater detail than ever

24th May 2016

There are few areas that have not been impacted by Google, although the link between the internet search giant and fine art may not, at first glance, appear immediately obvious.

However, art has been a central part of the company's efforts to dominate the digital world. Google's Cultural Institute was founded in 2011 having been set up with the goal of "having important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations."

The latest innovation to have come out as a result has been the company's new Art Camera, which aims to photograph some of the world finest works of art in a level of detail previously unseen.

The company claims the camera utilises laser and sonar technology to measure the distance from the lens to the artwork, which allows the camera to capture every angle, with every shot entirely in focus.

Google claims the move brings the idea of appreciating a work of art closely to a whole new level.

In a blog post announcing the news, Google said: "So much of the beauty and power of art lives in the details. You can only fully appreciate the genius of artists like Monet or Van Gogh when you stand so close to a masterpiece that your nose almost touches it. As you step back from the brush strokes, you wonder how it all comes together.

"At the Google Cultural Institute, we know that people love experiencing art in close detail. Millions of people spend time exploring our ultra-high resolution “gigapixel” images, inch by inch—spotting something new every time, like a hidden signature or the individual dabs of paint that give the impression of shimmering, turbulent waters.

"Zooming into these images is the closest thing to walking up to the real thing with a magnifying glass. This is why we’re so excited about our new Art Camera—a custom-built camera ready to travel around the world to bring people more of these ultra-high-resolution images than ever possible before."

As it is entirely operated using robots rather than a human, the process of obtaining ultra-resolution gigapixel images is now faster than ever before, with the process previously requiring specialised and expensive equipment, as well as the expertise of only a handful of highly-trained individuals.

To celebrate the new innovation, Google is to release the first 1,000 images of artwork by artists such as  Pissarro, Signac, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet among others, with many of the images coming out of the company's partnership with a number of museums from around the world.

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