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April 3rd, 2012
The Philadelphia Museum of Art Teams with Google to Offer Expanded Virtual View

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Teams with Google to Offer Expanded Virtual View
Google Art Project will allow virtual visitors from around the world to view collection highlights online

Philadelphia, PA (April 3, 2012)—The Philadelphia Museum of Art has joined the Google Art Project, offering high-resolution images of treasures from the collection in an effort to make art increasingly accessible to students, teachers, and art lovers of all ages. From armor to painting to decorative arts, more than 200 objects were carefully chosen from the Museum’s rich collections. The partnership is part of a major global project expansion, which now counts 151 partners in 40 countries, with 29 partners in 16 cities in the United States alone. The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s images now join the over 30,000 high resolution objects are available from museums around the globe.

“The Philadelphia Museum of Art is delighted to participate along with many of our sister institutions in the Google Art Project, as we are united by the goal of making our collections more accessible,” says Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “This collaboration will enable us to significantly broaden our reach and to share the works of art we hold in trust for the benefit of the public with audiences throughout the world. It is also our hope that this experience will spur new ways of thinking about how we can share the resources of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the world and in doing so foster a greater appreciation of this dynamic civic institution and its remarkable collections.”

Users will be able to find objects from the Philadelphia Museum of Art online at the Google Art Project through a variety of searches: artist, title, category, museum, country, collection, and time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to create personal galleries. The Create an Artwork Collection feature allows users to save specific views of any of the works and build their own personalized collections. Comments may be added to each work of art, and the entire collection is sharable with friends and family, making this an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections.

Highlights from the Museum’s 209 chosen objects include Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, which van Gogh painted in 1888 while waiting for Paul Gauguin to join him in the Provençal city of Arles. Painted in a simple earthenware jug against a sky blue background, these twelve blooms explode with color and vivacity. Rogier van der Weyden's The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning is among the greatest old master paintings in the Museum’s collection. With Mary and John on one panel and Christ on the cross on the other, the figures are set in a nocturnal environment against a flat wall accented by brilliant red hangings. Van der Weyden’s use of two panels, rather than the more common triptych, is rare in paintings of this period and allowed the artist to balance the human despair at the darkest hour of the Christian faith against the promise of redemption.

While the Museum’s collections are rich in modern and contemporary works of art, the Museum focused on works in the public domain for the Google Art Project. Works that fit this qualification then had to have existent high-resolution photography to allow for very detailed zooms and the most up-to-date supplementary information for educational value. The digital profile showcases the scope and diversity of the Museum’s collection, which contains works from as early as 2000 BCE to the present and works created on six continents.

The following individuals will be available for interviews:

Philadelphia Museum of Art

  • Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer
  • William Weinstein, Director of Information Services

Google Art Project

  • Piotr Adamczyk, Google Art Project Expert, will be available for satellite interviews on Wednesday, April 4 from 6:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. Adamczyk can speak to the history of and technology behind the Google Art Project. To set up an interview with Adamczyk, please contact Sarah Novatt at 202-216-8945 or novatt@homefront.tv.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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