I love art. I have many coffee table books filled with photos of beautiful works of art. I have several resources to help me teach art appreciation and methods to Ben. I adore spending the day wondering through an art gallery. I have been so blessed to visit some of the best art galleries in the U.S.
This week, I was beyond thrilled when I discovered an amazing (and FREE) online resource for art appreciation, called Google Art Project.
Google Art Project is an interactive collection of artwork from around the world. One hundred fifty-one art museums, from 40 countries, are represented, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Art Institute of Chicago, and The National Gallery of Art, with more than 30,000 artworks. Not every piece of artwork housed in these museums will be found. They want you to want to come and see more! (and you should, any chance you get!)
You can log into Art Project in the same way you log in to any of your Google accounts. You can choose to peruse the site by Collections (Museums) or Artists, listed alphabetically. Here, I chose MoMA . . .
And here, Vincent Van Gogh . . .
You can see the slide bar in the picture. Just slide it over, and more artworks appear. You can even create your own collections! Your collections can then be shared publicly (or remain private) and you can take a peak at collections other people have put together and shared. I can imagine putting together collections for art appreciation in our homeschool by time period, artist, style, color, theme or simply our “favorites. The possibilities are endless. I could completely lose myself in this. Seriously.
Once you are ready to learn more about one painting, Art Project makes that simple as well. With a click of the mouse, you will know the name of the painting, the artist’s name, the year it was painted, the museum in which it hangs, and even which floor and gallery the painting can be found.
Then there is a wonderful feature that allows you to zoom in to any spot on the painting to see it up close.
Here is a screen shot of a zoomed in look at a portion of my favorite painting ever, The Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh . . .
As a frame of reference, here is a screen shot of the entire painting . . .
How cool is that? You can actually zoom in even tighter than I did for that picture. Having stood in MoMA, in front of this painting, I can tell you first hand that you will see more detail on Art Project than in person. Of course, it may have been the tears streaming out of my eyes that prevented me from seeing more. (Yes, I did in fact cry when I saw this amazing piece of art in person–it’s on video. Ask my husband.)
Unlike looking at pictures in a book, being able to zoom in to see the details of each piece really makes the artwork come alive. The details are amazing. It’s like putting your art book under a microscope.
If you would like to see what the painting looks like hanging in the museum, Art Project has that feature, too. You can zoom in and out and and take a virtual tour of each gallery, seeing what else hangs in the same room . . .
That’s the room where I cried.
There is an Education section on the website, where you can Look Like and Expert by learning more about art history and a DIY area where you can send your students on a scavenger hunt! There’s much more to the Education section. This is a small sampling!
One disclaimer. Just like a real art gallery, you will happen upon artworks that contain nudity. We don’t generally shy away from that in our home, but I thought I would mention it in case you do.
I have literally spent hours this week enjoying Art Project. Time spent on this website inspired this blog post, not vice versa. You will love it. And so will your children.
I think Ben may enjoy this almost as much as Google Earth.