Google Art Project launched today. And it. is. AWESOME. Talk about making museums accessible to everyone. Extremely high-resolution images of original artworks! (That means you can see them much closer than if you visited the museum in person. Woah.) You can also “tour” the museum galleries, like you would in Google Maps street view. Currently, there’s only a handful of museums and galleries but I envision and hope more will join the project soon (like the Louvre?) I haven’t found artworks other than paintings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future they included three-dimensions works of art as well. (Update: I have stumbled upon a sculpture work, hopefully I’ll stumble upon more and in the future provide all angles!)
Self Portrait in a Straw Hat, Paul Cezanne (MoMA, The Museum of Modern Artâ€”New York, U.S.)
Since I’m going to be student teaching in the art classroom in a couple weeks, I’ve already thought how an art teacher can find different ways to use this in the classroom. Below are a few examples.
Helpful aids for master studies.
Since one can zoom in very close to these artworks, a student could focus on a small portion at a time — really understanding how Cezanne used blocks of color in his still-lifes, for instance. Looking at the whole image can be overwhelming, but breaking it into pieces makes it much more manageable.
Practice gallery walk-throughs.
Taking a group of students to a real-life gallery? Walk them through one of these galleries (or maybe the ACTUAL gallery you’re visiting is featured hereâ€”even better!) The students can practice appropriate behavior in an art gallery, have a better understanding of what to expect, as well as ask questions ahead of time (“How close can we get to the paintings?” “Do we have to walk a certain path around the gallery?”)
Better visual aids.
Technology use in the classroom is ever-increasing and the art classroom highly benefits from this. Being able to image search for paintings (so you don’t have to scan them from your art history book!) is a huge help. Now, rather than students seeing a poor-quality photograph (or photocopy of a photograph, etc.) art teachers can use Google Art Projects dynamically and students can really inspect the artwork. Studying lines in the elementary art classroom? Pull up Van Gogh’s Starry Night on your smart board, zoom in, and students can take turns finding and tracing his swirling lines!
Fascinating Anticipatory Sets.
Need their attention before introducing a stippling and pointillism unit? Zoom in on a painting by Georges Seurat and have the students guess what the painting is of, as you slowly zoom out.
You can even choose specific artworks and group them into your own “art collection”. You can name your collections the same as your unit plans for quick access, without having to remember which gallery is housing it and then having to spend valuable class time searching for it.
Love love love it.