Google’s ‘Art Project’: inspirational? Or just another reason to stay on the sofa?

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In this revolutionary age we’re living in, it seems there are fewer and fewer reasons for us to leave the comfort of our home.

We can do our weekly shopping online, have a chin-wag with our friends via the web and now, thanks to Google’s ‘Art Project’, we can take a 360 degree tour of galleries across the world without moving much more than an index finger!

The idea of a virtual tour is nothing new; the real innovation in the project is the use of “gigapixel” resolution images that allow users to get a microscopic view of the paintings. The images are so sharp, it’s possible to read the notes written on the easily missed sheet of music that sits on a table in “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the Younger at the National Gallery in London.

By zooming in on artwork with technology that is 1,000 times more powerful than an average digital camera, Google’s ‘Art Project’ can arguably offer a more informative experience online than looking at the real thing.

It’s easy to see how many would be a bit sniffy about this screen based gallery experience, maintaining that nothing could replace a firsthand viewing of the great works. This website, however, has encouraged and inspired me to travel and see these fascinating paintings up close in person – and I’m not even a big fan of art!