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Google Art Project: Virtual Tour of Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced Tuesday that it is taking part in the second phase of the Google Art Project, which extends Google's unique online platform for exploring museums and their collections to more than 100 museums worldwide.

The announced Tuesday that it is taking part in the second phase of the Google Art Project, which extends Google's unique online platform for exploring museums and their collections to more than 100 museums worldwide. In addition to the Getty Museum, three other California museums—the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles (LACMA), and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the de Young Museum in San Francisco—are featured on the newly expanded site.

Launched last year with 17 museums in Europe, New York, and Washington D.C., the Google Art Project allows museums to share their collections with visitors all over the world. With a few clicks, visitors to the site can explore the galleries of many of the world's greatest museums, pausing before objects to explore them in greater detail. They can also dig deeper into a museum's collection by learning more about objects that may not always be on view, such as works on paper, which are sensitive to light.

Through the Getty's presence on Google Art Project, visitors can examine more than 3,000 objects from the Museum's collection, and virtually wander its galleries. In particular, Rembrandt van Rijn's masterpiece painting "The Abduction of Europa" (1632) is available in breathtaking close-up in a Gigapixel image, allowing viewers to see brushwork and patina in far greater detail than the human eye could detect.

"The Google Art Project is a powerful portal to make museum collections around the world more accessible to a broader audience. We are thrilled to be a part of Art Project and to have our collections joined with those of other museums to the benefit of the public. Such endeavors will only serve to enhance the museum experience and to increase curiosity about the world's artistic legacy," said Jim Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

To put the Getty Museum's galleries online, a specially designed Street View trolley captured 360-degree images of the galleries, enabling online visitors to smoothly navigate from one room to the next as if they were walking through the museum.

Users can browse the collections of participating museums by artist, artwork, type of art, museum, country, city and collection. Users can also create their own personalized galleries with favorite images from museums all over the world, which they can share with friends.

This is the Getty's second prominent partnership with Google. Last year, the Getty was the first museum to feature Google Goggles, a mobile application allowing visitors to take a picture of any painting in the Getty Museum's collection and instantly access mobile-optimized versions of the Getty's paintings collection pages on the Web.

"The Getty is committed to using technology to help enrich the visitors' experience of our collection, whether in the galleries or online, to allow them to learn more about works of art," said Stanley Smith, head of the Getty Museums Collection Information and Access department. "Through the Google Art Project, we are able to go beyond the walls of the Getty to reach those visitors who might not be able to travel to Los Angeles to see works in our collection firsthand."

About this column: This information came from a press release sent directly to Patch. It may have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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