Explore Masterworks of Art at Google Cultural Institute

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One of my hobbies is Google bashing. I occasionally delight in the silly misadventures of Google—things like Google Glass, Google Wave, Google Buzz, Google Floor Wax (OK, I made that one up)—when I'm not relying on their more sane and successful projects to underpin my entire digital life.

But once in a while, when Google delivers something that is just a sheer joy, that only Google could deliver, well, I just tip my virtual cap and say thanks.

Case in point: Google Cultural Institute. For this project, Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, archives, and other institutions to digitize and host the world’s cultural treasures online. There are three main divisions of Google Cultural Institute: Art ProjectHistoric Moments, and World Wonders. They all contain fascinating material, but if you're in the mood for some creative inspiration, head to the Art Project. To date Google has amassed collections of art from over 260 museums around the world and digitized the most significant works.

Google Art Project

And when I say digitize, I mean practically down to the atoms. You can view Van Gogh's The Starry Night from MoMA and zoom in to the point where every frozen glob of paint is the size of an iceberg.

Starry Night

Starry Night

Starry Night

Starry Night

You missed a spot, Vincent.

You can search for a particular country, museum, or artist, and save and share your own custom collections of masterworks.

It's so cool that I can almost forgive Google for killing Reader. But not quite.

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