Six museums in Japan have teamed up with Internet services firm Google Inc. to make many of their artworks only a few keystrokes away.
Google’s Art Project allows people to view works owned by museums worldwide on personal computers and other devices. Users can zoom in on the works and appreciate the distinctive touches put in by past masters.
Two Japanese works have been recorded with a resolution 700 times as high as a conventional digital camera, allowing viewers to scrutinize details that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The six museums---the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Suntory Museum of Art, the Bridgestone Museum of Art, the Adachi Museum of Art and the Ohara Museum of Art--are the first in Japan to join the project.
“By taking part in Google’s global service platform, we can give people worldwide a chance to get in touch with Japanese art and culture,” said Masami Zeniya, executive director of the Tokyo National Museum.
A total of 567 works, including national treasures and other masterpieces, are available.
In particular, “Kanpuzu Byobu” (a folding screen of people viewing maple trees), by 16th-century painter Kano Hideyori, and “Koyo” (autumn leaves), a painting by Taikan Yokoyama (1868-1958), have been recorded with 7 billion pixels.
“Kanpuzu Byobu,” a national treasure, is owned by the Tokyo National Museum, while “Koyo” is owned by the Adachi Museum of Art in Shimane Prefecture.
The Ohara Museum of Art is in Okayama Prefecture, while the four other museums are in Tokyo.
Google’s service began in February 2011. More than 30,000 artworks from 151 museums, including those in Japan, are available.
They include “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, owned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt, owned by Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Using Google’s Street View service, people can take a virtual tour of 46 museums, including the Tokyo National Museum and the Adachi Museum of Art.
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