Philadelphia Art Museum now part of Google’s worldwide online collection

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has teamed up with Google to put some of its finest paintings online. In its second year, the Google Art Project now features over 100 museums.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has teamed up with Google to put some of its finest paintings online.

Last year the Google Art Project posted high-resolution images, accompanying information, and a virutal gallery walk-through from 17 museums worldwide, including the Metropolian in New York, the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, and the Tate in London.

For its second year, the Project now features over 100 museums, including the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The PMA already has about 55,000 images of works in its collection online. Only about 200 of those are part of the Google Art Project.

“That’s a very small subset of the total number of works we have one our website,” said PMA CEO Timothy Rub. “It represents a handbook of the collection: what do we want people to know about the greatest hits here, that are outstanding and of critical importance to the history of art? That’s always difficult to make those choices — if you have to boil it down, this is the group we came up with.”

While the Art Museum’s website is much more complete than the Google project, its inclusion could mean more eyeballs. The Google Art Project is designed to be a one-stop site, allowing users to curate and share their own hand-picked images of paintings, sculptures, and drawings from the finest collections around the world.

Originally, the Google Art Project was designed to create a virtual, online experience that makes it seem you’re walking through the gallery, similar to navigating online maps through Google’s street-view. But since the museum doesn’t own the on-line rights to every work in a given room, that became impossible.

The Art Museum has provided stand-alone images of works in the public domain to the Google project–including Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, the Dutch Old Master Rogier van der Weyden’s The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning–to avoid an inextricable tangle of copywright issues.

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