Victoria’s art treasures join Google Art Project
Date: 4 April 2012
Art lovers across the world will be able to get up close and personal with some of Victoria's greatest cultural treasures as part of the Google Art Project .
Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu said two of Melbourne's iconic cultural institutions - the National Gallery of Victoria and Museum Victoria - were among the international venues selected by Google to take part in the second stage of the project, which was announced at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
"Both the NGV and the Museum are custodians of extraordinary collections of artworks and cultural objects that belong to the people of Victoria. This initiative will enable selected works from these collections to be viewed and enjoyed by a worldwide audience and engaged with in a new way."
Mr Baillieu said 185 items from Museum Victoria's collection had been selected for the project, together with more than 150 of the NGV's greatest artworks.
"These include beautiful Indigenous artworks, shields and jewellery, the first photograph of Uluru, early images of Indigenous life in Australia and those of early settler life, as well as some of the first illustrations of Victorian fauna," Mr Baillieu said.
"Among the NGV works that will be able to be accessed are paintings by Australia's best-known artists including Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd, and international treasures such as Giambattista Tiepolo's masterpiece, The Banquet of Cleopatra."
The Art Project, which was launched by Google in February 2011, provides online access to high resolution 'gigapixel' images of artworks from galleries around the world - showing brushwork details beyond what is visible to the naked eye. It also offers virtual tours of galleries and other architectural treasures, such as the Palace of Versailles , through Google's Street View technology. Only 17 galleries were included in the first phase of the project, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the Uffizi in Florence.
The second phase of the project is bringing new art forms and art venues online. In addition to paintings, it includes sculpture, street art and photography at 151 cultural institutions in 40 countries - from the White House in Washington to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.
Museum Victoria's Acting CEO Dr Robin Hirst said the Google Art Project was a wonderful opportunity for Museum Victoria to share its collections with the world in a new way.
"Visitors to the Project will see the great beauty and breadth of our collections through a new lens, and begin to hear and see amazing stories from Australia. The items selected represent enormous cultural, scientific and historic value," Dr Hirst said.
NGV Director Dr Gerard Vaughan said the NGV, as home to Australia's finest art collection, was delighted to be part of this major international online project.
"This will provide important worldwide access to some of our greatest artworks," Dr Vaughan said.
Between them the NGV and Museum attracted almost 4.3 million visitors through their doors last year, ranking them among the most visited museums in the world. They also attracted more than 5.5 million online visits.
"Being part of this worldwide initiative will further the work that both Museum Victoria and the NGV have been doing to extend the reach of their collections beyond the physical walls of their venues," Mr Baillieu said.
"It will increase their international profile, align them with the world's most renowned cultural institutions and enable them to proudly share Victoria's cultural treasures with the rest of the world," Mr Baillieu said.
Explore art from around the world, including the NGV and Museum Victoria at Google Art Project .