email Youtube

Workshops & Calendar

GoogleArt and the (US) National Gallery of Art

Time-suck alert:  WARNING!!!! Reading this post may cause you to spend several extra hours surfing the web….but your soul will be refreshed! and PS…pictures are clickable to view larger.

Incoming Tide by Winslow Homer (from Maine!), from the US National Gallery of Art

The U.S. National Gallery of Art just launched NGA Images, an online resource to view and USE portions of their collections.  Here is how they describe it:

NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. On this website you can search, browse, share, and download images. A standards-based reproduction guide and a help section provide advice for both novices and experts. More than 20,000 open access digital images up to 3000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.

Astonishingly and wonderfully (this is one of the things the U.S. Government does so well), the artworks no longer under copyright are FREE for you to download and use and enjoy (just be sure to make sure you read their terms of use).   Thank you to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation which made this wonderful resource possible!  And thanks to Uncle Sam for doing this.

One of the most popular paintings in the collection is Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de Benci.  The painting is relatively small, even with the frame it is smaller than your typical college-dorm poster.  And the detail is phenomenal…you can see individual hairs on her forehead.  Just imagine, he and this young woman lived over 500 years ago and there she is, still alive for us today in this portrait!

Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo da Vinci

And one of my favorites is Gaugin’s Fatata te Miti.  When I was an undergraduate at Georgetown University, I would every now and then take my books and hop on an “even 30’s” (32-34-36) bus line which ran from Wisconsin Avenue, NW in Georgetown down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the White House (the street was open to cars  then) and down to the National Gallery, and sit in one or a couple of the galleries to do my homework.  I could look up between paragraphs or assignments and just absorb all that incredible art!

One of my favorites, Fatata te Miti by Gauguin....just LOVE the color!

At least as astonishing as NGA Images is GoogleArt or, more accurately, The Art Project powered by Google.  All I can say is HOLY COW!   WOW!!!!!!!!!!! This resource lets you explore museums around the world and you can zoom in so close, the photography is so phenomenal, you can see brushstrokes and small cracks in the paint!!!!!! I mean, you can see details that you’d need to be standing 6 inches away in real life to be able to see that well (and I expect in many of the museums you’re not allowed that close!).

Just SOME of the museums on GoogleArt are

  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York City),
  • The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
  • The National Gallery (London)
  • The Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)
  • The Versailles Museum (Versailles)
  • The Uffizi Gallery (Florence)
  • The Hermitage (St. Petersburg)

I mean you’d need to win a BIG lottery to be able to travel to just these museums let alone all of them.  And to be utterly greedy, I hope that as more and more of the repositories of our world heritage bring their collections online, they will become a part of this phenomenal resource.  And the Art Project not only lets you see the artwork, but the museum spaces, too…. oh sigh drool dream!  It’s like you are standing in the rooms…..sigh, drool, dream!

In this image captured from the site (and gosh I hope that is OK to have done!) you see Les Vessenots à Auvers by Van Gogh.

Van Gogh's Les Vessenot à Auvers in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid

If you go here, to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spain, look in the lower right for a slider bar that allows you to zoom in.  You can SEE THE BRUSHSTROKES and daubs of paint….

Zoomed in to see the individual brushstrokes and daubs of paint

Have I said recently how much I love the internet?   WOW.  And remember…not my fault if you forget to pick up the kids after school or make supper <GRIN>  HAVE FUN surfing the web!

6 Responses to “GoogleArt and the (US) National Gallery of Art”

  1. Rachel Parris Says:

    Oooooooooooooooooh. Thank you…I think.

  2. Lisa White Reber Says:

    Sarah – thanks for the post, I think. It did spark one memory: we lived outside DC from (for me) 3rd grade on. One visit, Mom was so facinated by the incredible detail in the (approx 10×10″) St. George and the Dragon (Northern Renaissance, don’t remember the artist) that she kept leaning in closer and closer and closer . . . you got it – set off the proximity alarm! Now I’ve gotta go look at those archives to see for myself. I have nothing else to do – HA! Thanks again!

  3. Betty Johnson Says:

    What a treasure these websites will be and what memories seeing the Ginevra in your blog were brought back. At the time the Ginevra de Benci was acquired and put on display, I was a docent at the Gallery doing tours of the collection for school children and accompanying adults. The Ginevra was immediately added to each tour. It was difficult to keep the children’s attention on the artistic qualities of the painting and the times in which was painted while the adults were mumbling in the backgroud about the cost, which was not revealed at that time.

  4. JACQUIE Says:

    Thanks — I think! I’ll have to check out Manet’s Dead Matador which became a favorite when I first saw it in 1955. And take a look at Van Gogh’s works whose texture first captured me when I saw an exhibit of his works in Toronto in 1960 or 61 and was reinforced by others in Holland, esp at the Moeller-Krueller Museum.

  5. Sherri D Says:

    I’m a sucker for the da Vinci painting. That is pretty much the garb/costume/clothing that we make and wear to perform in at renaissance faires.

    Thank you for the tempting web sites!

  6. Top Ten Tuesday Says:

    […] From Sarah Ann Smith  and Art and Quilting in Camden comes a FABULOUS resource of EYE CANDY….NGA Images – thousands of images from the National Gallery of Art. And Sarah is right – MAJOR timesuck here!! And along with that comes The Art Project powered by Google….even more from the best museums in the world! Oh my! Here’s just a snippet of a screen shot…. […]