Wednesday, April 11, 2012

National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi now on Google

Visitors can now sit at home and view artistic masterpieces of India and world

New Delhi: Google maps of India might raise the hackles of government and the sensitivities of the people. But this is one Google venture that should bring smiles to India’s netizens. The Art Project Powered By Google, which was launched on Tuesday by culture minister Kumari Selja at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) brings precious artefacts and paintings of modern masters like Jamini Roy and Amrita Shergil to the Internet.
It is a special project initiated by Google and which was accepted by the culture ministry after the initial bureaucratic resistance over issues like Intellectual Property Right (IPR) and the suspicion why is Google interested in our museums. But the air was cleared soon enough and within six months, the entry into the virtual world was made with 100 paintings from the NGMA collection and 100 artefacts from the National Museum now on the Net. Work is going on to increase the number of objets d’art accessible.
Minister Selja who was all praise for Google said, “I can confess here that they (Google) have inspired me.”  She told her officials, “We have to grow fast. We cannot move at snail’s pace.” She said the Google project “opened our eyes to the potential of IT.”
The Natiopnal Museum has 200,000 artefacts and the NGMA a collection of 17,000 paintings. It is being envisaged that 10,000 of the artefacts and paintings would be added to the virtual museum.
Amit Sood, the Google mind behind that project, said that it was soon realized when it all began six months ago that it was too European-centric, and so it was decided to tap other countries and other cultures. He admitted that it was a nightmarish venture which involved sleepless nights and hard work. Google has used a contraption called street-view camera, which had been used for constructing Google maps of cities, in this project, where the machined was made to go into the museum, and zoom in on the works, giving a microscopic and as well as enlarged versions.
He said that it will be possible view the paintings in microscopic detail, which is an advantage with the viewer on the computer. He said some of the paintings comprised of 7 billion pixels and resolutions were excellent.
His own favourite and that of his team is a Rajputana painting titled, “Radha Krihsna in a Love Boat”, whose painter in unknown. Sood showed at the launch the details of the picture. The other masters included those of Jamini Roy and Amrita Shergil.
The advantage and experience of this project is that it enables the viewer to take a walk through the museums, stand before the painting or sculpture and then go on other paintings and other museums, including the White House, yes the American president’s home in Washington, and its collection of art works as well as a virtual walk through the presidential mansion.
Sood said that the pictures cannot be downloaded. And that Google has no rights over the exhibits.

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