Up Close and Personal

Those clever clever people at Google have done it again, and this time they’re contributing to the “digital enagagement with the arts” debate; that is to say is online exposure to artistic works as valuable as the live experience?

As reported in the Guardian last month: “Under an agreement unveiled with the Prado,… Google will deploy technology used by its Google Earth global mapping programme to hang a gigapixel gallery of Prado masterpieces on the internet.” That is to say, Google have now enabled their Google Earth tool to allow a user to zoom in so minutely to a selection of paintings at the Prado Gallery in s that you can fill your screen with a single brushstroke.

This is all very impressive, but does this enhance a user’s engagement with the art? It does seem that Johnathan Jones thinks not. Perhaps a more important and quantifiable question (certainly what I’m most interested in) is might this encourage people to engage with works of art that who may not have done so before? Jones at least recognises the step made in this direction.

Either way as a digital geek and a huge Bosch fan, I’m sold.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

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