06 February 2011

virtual museums ~ {art project by google}

I spent some time this morning wandering the halls of Versailles, Uffizi Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate and Museo Thyssen using Google's Art Project. Half the time I admired some of the amazing architecture and decor (especially in Versailles, where even the ceilings are stunning) and the other half of the time I looked up some of my favorite artists and paintings or discovered new ones. One can wander around the museum's floor plan or find all the works by a certain artist across all the museums.

Here is a view of the Mars Room at Versailles where I found Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun's portrait of Marie Antoinette with her three children. I've always been fond of her works and it's such a treat to see a painting's actual location, then be able to zoom in on its details and read up on its history and the artist. In this case, I was led to another portrait of Marie Antoinette, also by Vigee-Lebrun ~ that had been quickly painted to replace another one that caused scandal because her dress was too casual for her station.

The views of the museums are not 100% complete. There are some rooms not included in the virtual tour and not all the paintings are able to be examined up close. However, there is still plenty to explore.

This one by Seurat was fascinating to see his brushstrokes and scientific approach to color. In this picture I was zooming in on Grandcamp, Evening.

Even more fun was examining Van Gogh's works up close. His works are highly featured in the Art Project between the Van Gogh Museum and all the other Van Gogh paintings held in the other galleries. I loved seeing his color choices and areas where it seemed like he gave up on a brush and just squeezed the paint on directly.

Nothing can actually match seeing a painting in person, of course. I had seen so many images and prints of Da Vinci's Il Cenacolo ~ The Last Supper ~ but those replicas did not prepare me to have my breath taken away so forcefully when I entered the church to stand before it and share its space.

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