Google Cultural Institute

Van Gogh - The Starry Night Close Up

It has come to my attention that not many people know about Google Cultural Institute (formerly the Google Art Project, but now it includes much more). I love the Google Cultural Institute and you should too. Although I’d much rather see a Peter Paul Rubens (Not to be confused with Peter, Paul, and Mary) painting in person (I’ll add that to my non-existent bucket list), I don’t have the luxury of flying all over the world to see his paintings so Google Cultural Institute is my solution.

Fake disclaimer: Google Cultural Institute is a great website and you’re likely to lose track of time and browse artworks for hours. If you have deadlines or tasks to complete, wait to look at GCI until you have some free time.

Here’s a nifty video to introduce you to GCI:

The Google Art Project (part of the Google Cultural Institute) has hundreds thousands of artworks for you to view in high resolution. You can take a virtual tour through partnered museums, read about the artwork, browse other member’s “collections” of artwork (you can make your personal collection of artwork from the Google Art Project, write things about the pieces you chose, and share with the world), and so much more.

As always, if you click on an image in my posts you can usually see larger images.

Let’s take a quick tour through the Google Cultural Institute:

Here I am browsing the artwork of Peter Paul Rubens. You can scroll left and right to view more art work by Rubens. Notice the little blue “gigapixel” button next to the title of “Venus and Adonis”. There are several gigapixel images on the Google Art Project. You may ask yourself “what is a gigapixel?” You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile? Well you know how cameras have megapixels? Maybe your camera has 12 megapixels (That’s pretty standard). A gigapixel is 1,000 megapixels (Whaaaaat!!!).

Google Cultural Institute - Peter Paul Rubens

Browsing art work by Peter Paul Rubens in the Google Cultural Institute

Let’s take a look at the gigapixel image of “Venus and Adonis”:

Peter Paul Rubens - Venus and Adonis Description

You can get little history lessons about the art.

The descriptions are fun to read and they are very informative (unlike taking an actual art history class where you fall asleep and watch slides on a projector while the teacher drones on in a monotone voice). Enough of that, let’s zoom into the painting!

Peter Paul Rubens - Venus and Adonis Zoom 1

“You are such an Adonis!”

Peter Paul Rubens - Venus and Adonis Zoom 2

Look at the detail!

Peter Paul Rubens - Venus and Adonis Zoom 3


Peter Paul Rubens - Venus and Adonis Zoom 4

If you are in an actual art museum and you can see a painting this closely, you need to back up a little before the security guard removes you from the premises.

There’s so much to look at with the Google Cultural Institute. A blog post can barely scratch the surface of how interesting GCI is. Go check it out for yourself! If you want a direct link to the Art Project, click here. And if you want to see the “Venus and Adonis” painting by Peter Paul Rubens, you can click here.

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