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February 19, 2014

Google Art Project Street View

Now anyone in the world can virtually visit the de Young and explore six of its American art galleries through the Google Art Project. The de Young joined the Google Art Project in 2012 and over the last year has been one of 15 institutions across the United States to increase access to its collections significantly via this interactive, online tool.

There are currently more than 200 works of art from the de Young’s collection featured on the Google Art Project, including a diverse range of sculpture, painting, decorative arts, and Native American basketry. Through the Street View function, users can tour six of the American art galleries. This 3D, virtual experience is enhanced by links to object records that enable art enthusiasts to zoom in on the work of art and learn more about it from the curators via video and audio content.

The context for the works in these galleries is four centuries of American history, including such major turning points as life during the colonial period, Westward expansion, and the Civil War. These objects not only document this period, but also provide cross-cultural viewpoints that lead to a wider understanding of American Art.

Letitia Grace McCurdy

Ways to Explore:

  • Compare the changing Sacramento landscape in Albert Bierstadt’s California Spring (1875) and William Hahn’s Sacramento Railroad Station (1874) (link to all works directly)
  • Look at the high society of early America through the eyes of the first African American painter with an identified practice, Joshua Johnson. (link to Letitia Grace McCurdy)
  • See how, even in its digital form, John Frederick Peto’s masterful trompe l’oeil is able to fool the eye (link to Cup we all Race For)
  • Zoom in at brushstroke level on Richard Diebenkorn’s Seawall, one of roughly 60 works in the world to undergo a high-resolution gigapixel scanning process.

Google Art Project Gigapixel Zoom

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco plan to add more artworks and collections to the Google Art Project on a rolling basis. Check back to see what other treasures there are to explore.