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Google opens global art galleries to millions

April 11, 2012
People from around the world have gained instant access to the Auckland Art Gallery, as it joins top museums and galleries on Google's virtual visiting tool.
The Google Art Project has just completed a major international expansion of its website from 17 to 151 galleries, in 40 countries, including the Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa.
A wide range of institutions across the world, including collections in Australia, Brazil and India, are now part of the project with more than 30,000 objects are now available to view in high resolution, up from the 1,000 in the first version. These works can be saved in users own personalised galleries, which can then be shared.
High resolution photographs of artworks can be zoomed in to see details of brush strokes and the grain of canvases.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Chris Saines states "I think this will generate huge interest ... to be counted among some of the major art collections in the world is something we're tremendously proud about."
Saines said it was not daunting to be presented side-by-side with the top collections around the world, from places like Tate Britain, the Palace of Versailles and Van Gogh Museum, adding "it's really not because each gallery or museum in the world has its own history and collection's strength."
About 85 of the Gallery's 1,500 works are available on the website.
Saines adds "nothing replaces the experience of the original, but you've got to remember people around the world are looking for information and images of particular works. It's an opportunity to get an intimate insight.
"You can literally get closer than is even possible with the human eye."
For some galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute in Chicago, Google also offers a virtual walk-through of the halls.
Company spokeswoman Kate Mason said more than 20 million visitors had already visited Google Art Projects before its expansion, stating "the cool thing, particularly for the the New Zealand collection, is there's many elements of New Zealand culture and particularly Maori culture that might not have got this global exposure had they not been in on the Google Art Project.
"That's something really exciting, to look through and get what that country's people are actually like."
Amit Sood, Head of the Google Art Project explained "the Art Project is going global, thanks to our new partners from around the entire world.
"It's no longer just about the Indian student wanting to visit Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American student wanting to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi."

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