Google Art Project Brings da Vinci to Your Living Room

“Oh, that’s just the da Vinci I picked up yesterday,” you might say to friends as they gather in your living room, excited to hear about your latest art acquisitions. “It’s next to the Monet I grabbed on a whim last week.”

You may never have thought you’d see the day when you’d be collecting priceless works of art while sitting in your flannel pajama bottoms and munching on toast and tea but, thanks to today’s launch of phase two of the Google Art Project, that moment has indeed arrived.

Originally introduced last year, the project saw the online search engine giant team up with 17 museums around the world to offer street view-style tours of their halls, allowing for virtual visits of some of the world’s greatest art galleries.

Today, with the launch of phase two, the Art Gallery of Ontario is counted among the 100 new galleries from around the world, such as France’s Palace of Versailles or Florence’s Uffizi gallery, added to the project.

While browsing through the high-resolution images, you can read up on the artwork and even click links that lead to further information. And what’s more, patrons partaking in the virtual tours can act as curators of sorts by assembling their own personal online gallery of favourite art to share with others.  Best of all, it’s free to take part.

“If this increases visitation, then the Google Art Project will be a very effective tool to promote museums and art galleries everywhere,” Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO told The Toronto Star.

You can log on here, set up a free account and start your tour right away. For the first time in history, many of the world’s greatest works of art are available instantly at your fingertips.

 -Mike Crisolago