Today is the birthday of the American artist Edward Hopper, and a tweet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art this morning reminds us of the wonderful trove of high resolution images on the museum’s website, including several paintings and a selection of Hopper’s often overlooked etchings.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Google has recently expanded and improved their already amazing Google Art Project, in which they use their Google Maps “Street View” tech to offer virtual tours of museum spaces, and, more importantly, offer beautiful, zoomable high resolution images of great works of art from world class museums.
Their recent expansion adds 150 museums and galleries to their list of participating institutions, including the National Gallery in London.
When I first reported about the Google Art Project in early 2011, they had roughly 1000 images available on the site, there are now over 30,000 (though not all in highest resolution).
They have also dramatically improved the interface, which was the weak point of the original implementation and sorely in need of revision.
Instead of dealing with that horrible little scrolling list (that never displayed right in browsers other than Chrome), you can now view actual list pages and look up Collections from museums and galleries, or browse by Artists or Artworks.
If you take the trouble to create a free account (you can probably sign in with a current Google account), you can keep personal galleries of favorites, not just bookmarked, but saved with a chosen zoom level and focus selection.
If you view the Details page for a given work there are often videos, audio commentary, maps and a range of text information about the work and the artist.
The interface can still be a bit slow and demanding of your computer and browser (and probably still works best in Chrome), but you may just need to be patient.
The Google Art Project was already an amazing resource and is now even better and more extensive by an order of magnitude.
It also gets my highest Major Timesink Warning.
(Images above: In the Conservatory, Edouard Manet from collection of Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
[Via The Guardian]
Monday, April 4, 2011
I’m always delighted to bring news of sources for high-resolution art images, like The Google Art Project, my recent post on Hi-res images on Rijksmuseum website, and the full screen Zoomable images of auction items, past and present, from Sotheby’s.
The latest in this list of high resolution image resources is the Image Library of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
You can search the collections by various criteria. However, because the online collections of the categories of art I’m most interested in, American Art, European Painting and Sculpture and Prints & Drawings, are not extensive, (28, 300 and 40 entries, respectively, as of this writing) I find it more fruitful to browse the collections by category.
The default page comes up with a sampling of various items form the collection. The categories are accessed from links in the left sidebar.
Unfortunately the pages of preview images are listed by title and don’t list artist names, so it’s a little bit hit and miss (though that can lead to nice discoveries). Bringing up the page and information for a given thumbnail is quick enough.
The detail pages show the image in a Zoomable interface so you can zoom in on a section of the work and get an idea of the detail; then, for the images you like, click on the convenient “Download Image” link under the Zooming image.
Most of the files I downloaded varied from about 4mb to 20mb. Downloading can take time, click on a few and get a cup of tea.
Browsing may lead you to some unexpected delights, like this gem from Danish painter Martinus Rørbye (image above, bottom two).
(Images above, each with detail, Camille Pissarro, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Camille Corot, Ubaldo Gandolfi, Martinus Rørbye)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
One thing I can never seem to get enough of is high resolution images of great art, and it seems like more and more are cropping up each day — one of the little gifts bestowed upon us by the globe spanning lattice of zooming bits we affectionately call the web.
Peacay, author of the amazing blog, BibliOdyssey (see my posts here and here), was kind enough to point out recently that the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, one of the world’s great museums, is now posting high resolution images of almost all of the works featured in their online collections. This practice extends right down to the posters and prints in their shop.
You can search the collections, or, as I prefer to do, browse through their lists of artists alphabetically; find someone you’re interested in, say, Vermeer (grin), and see a selection of the works available for viewing online.
Click on a thumbnail image to access the detail page for a given work, for example, The Little Street, and click on the plus sign or link for “Extra large view of the image” below the preview image to see the larger version (images above, top, with detail crop below it).
Some enlargements are higher in resolution and have more detail than others, but all I’ve encountered have been large enough to be worthwhile.
The collection includes artists who are quite famous, like Rembrandt (images above, 3rd and 4th down), a little less famous, like Pieter de Hooch (above, 7th and 8th down), and lesser known but wonderful artists like still life painter Floris van Dijck (above, 5th and 6th down).
It’s also worth coming back through the front of the site and exploring that way, though I find the artist listings the most rewarding in terms of high resolution images. You could spend a lot of rewarding time here just checking out artists with whom you’re not familiar.
If your taste for great northern European art (and others) is anything like mine, I’ll issue my standard Major Time Sink Warning.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
There are times I just want to hug the internet, and say “I love you Internet!“.
Google, that monolithic giant of search, advertising, maps, stats and online software, whose offerings and initiatives have ranged from the amazing (search, maps) to the not-so wonderful (privacy issues), has spun off a new initiative for which I will forgive most of their transgressions.
Google on Monday unveiled a new feature called Google Art Project that is nothing short of wonderful and amazing, and, if Google’s history is any indication, stands to become even more wonderful and amazing as time goes on.
The project is an online archive of ultra-high-resolution images of great works of art.
Google has applied their “Street View” technology, familiar for providing zoomable street-level images within the context of Google Maps, to the display of both the works and the galleries in which they reside.
Google Street View has been put to unofficial art related use before, notably with the Virtual Paintout (my post here) in which artists virtually “visit” a specified location by way of Google Street View, and use the images as reference for “on location” paintings.
Here, the technology is being put to much different use by Google, allowing some of the best views of great paintings available online.
At the moment they are working with 17 museums, each of which has contributed one or more gigapixel level images to the project; and an impressive start it is:
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
National Gallery, London – UK
Palace of Versailles – France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
Tate Britain, London – UK
Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Starting from a list that appears on the project’s home page when you mouse over the initial image, you can choose a museum, then browse the museum’s corridors, or go right to an artwork.
Unlike the stingy feeling so many museums project with tiny preview images and zooming images that have to be scrolled in frustratingly small little windows, the artworks here are available in a full screen zooming interface, and when I say “zoom” I mean it really zooms, down to an astonishing level of detail.
In the images above, I’ve chosen to visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and zoom in to a nose-up-against-the-canvas view of Rembrandt’s The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq, commonly known as The Night Watch.
Though the Flash drop-down for browsing museums and works is a bit glitchy, the interface’s provision for scrolling and zooming is wonderfully fluid, and the ability to get your eyeballs right up to Rembrandt’s textural brushwork is just delicious.
I’ve left the zooming control in my images just to demonstrate it, but it and other interface elements politely melt away when not in use. In the upper right is a Visitor Guide button, which provides a general introduction to the project (there is also a short introductory video here), and an info (“i”) button which gives access to an information panel with a menu of options for information about the painting, provided by the museum in which it hangs.
Of note in that menu are links to “More Works by this Artist” and “More Works in this Museum”, which can lead to a nice browsing experience.
There are some amazing images to be seen, including The Harvesters by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night at the MoMA, Hans Holbein’s enigmatic The Ambassadors (my post here) in the National Gallery, London and (be still my beating heart) Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi!
I’ll give my Major Time Sink Warning and bid you enjoy!
All art on the internet should be like this.
Monday, October 4, 2010
In my recent post on Monet at the Grand Palais, I was praising the online gallery in which a large number of Monet’s works have been made viewable on the web in relatively high resolution images.
I say “relatively” because Haltadefinizione, or “HAL9000″ (English version here), an Italian project specializing in high-definition photography, has made available on the web several great masterpieces in what can be considered extreme high resolution.
I wrote in 2007 about their high resolution online image of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. That image consisted of 16 billion pixels, at the time reaching the limits of the technology.
Their more recent image of Botticelli’s La Primivera consists of 28 billion pixels, about 3,000 times the resolution of a consumer digital camera. The pixel density (pixels per inch, or ppi) has also increased, from 580 to 1,500ppi (magazine and book printing are typically 300ppi).
In contrast to the “gallery view” afforded by the online Monet exhibit (in which you can see individual brushstrokes wonderfully), these images are more like a “conservator’s view”, allowing you to zoom in to a level as if observed under a magnifying lens.
You need to be patient with the image as it loads, but once loaded, the interface is remarkably responsive as you zoom. The images are watermarked, but that’s a small quibble considering what they are offering, and you can work around the watermarks by altering the magnification level and scrolling a bit.
In addition to several works already imaged, they are working in cooperation with the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence to digitize 24 of the great museum’s works.
So far, there are ten works viewable on the site:
Da Vinci’s Last Supper
Da Vinci’s Annunciation
Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus
Verrocchio & Leonardo’s The Baptism of Christ
Gaudenzio Ferrari’s Life Stories of Christ
Agnolo Bronzino’s Elanor of Toledo
Francesco Paolo Michetti’s The Daughter of Iorio
In addition Botticelli’s La Primavera is available on the la Repubblica site.
All are remarkable in their own way. The experience of putting your nose up to these works is amazing.
I had the pleasure of spending the better part of an hour with Botticelli’s La Primavera and Birth of Venus (image above) when I was in Florence a few years ago.
I won’t say that the digital image is a substitute for seeing great works like this in person, it’s a different experience with its own plusses and minuses (I couldn’t put my nose up to the canvas), but if you can’t get to the Uffizi, it may well be the next best thing.
[Addendum: (2013) This has largely been superseded by the Google Art Project, for which no account is necessary to view all the high definition images, and within which the images are not annoyingly watermarked.
See my posts on the Google Art Project.]
Friday, April 23, 2010
For those who are frustrated by the seeming shortage of high-resolution images of great paintings on the web, and are tired of navigating little zoom windows to try to get a glimpse of brushwork or paint surface, one resource for full screen high-resolution images of artwork is the auction catalog preview feature on the Sotheby’s auction site, as I mentioned in my previous post about Sotheby’s.
This is an ever changing resource; you have to be patient and continue to watch for new auctions as time goes on if you want to catch the kind of images you want to see.
There are two current auctions at Sotheby’s that I find of particular interest. The online catalogs contain some beautiful museum-quality gems for which the auction house has provided high-resolution images.
One is an auction of 19th Century European Art that includes works by Giovanni Boldini, Gustav Courbet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Joaquin Sorolla, and such well known paintings as Bouguereau’s L’Amour et Psyché.
The other is an auction of Impressionist and Modern Art, which is divided into an Evening Sale and a Day Sale. There, amid a plethora of Picassos, you will find gems by Eugéne Boudin, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet and Henri Le Sidaner.
Yes, these are still zooming images, but you are zooming within a the full resolution of your screen instead of a little box. Many of the images are high resolution enough that they rival what you could take with your own camera standing in front of the original (not quite as high resolution, but better in terms of lighting). Some of them are a bit pixelated or soft at highest resolution, but still well worthwhile because of the level of detail.
Once in an online catalog, you can browse by thumbnails in a grid or list view, or simply page through each image individually with forward and back arrows. Zoom in to your hearts content and pan around the larger than full screen images.
These listings will be gone before long, but the site bears watching for the next group of museum level paintings changing hands among the hyper-rich.
(Images above, with accompanying full resolution details: Eugéne Boudin, Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida, Claude Monet, Gustav Courbet)
[Addendum: Great new E-Catalogue added for exhibition of 19th Century European paintings, with Orientalist painters, Spanish painters, including Sorolla, and Scandinavian painters, including Frits Thaulow and Peder Monstead! Great stuff]