FORT WORTH -- The Kimbell Art Museum on Thursday announced its alliance with the Google Art Project.
This specialized Google effort brings artworks in far-flung museums directly to users' computer screens. Google has recorded 77 of the most famous Kimbell objects, including Michelangelo's first known painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony, and put them on the Art Project website.
"Google's commitment to making art freely accessible to all audiences, both locally and internationally, is shared by the Kimbell Art Museum," said Kimbell director Eric M. Lee in a prepared statement. "I have enjoyed viewing the celebrated works from the Kimbell's permanent collection alongside those from some of the world's most prestigious institutions."
Users can find a number of ways to tarry at the site. They can select an artwork and focus on a small area, and then enlarge it to a point that allows scrutiny of a degree not allowed by museum guards. The lovely face of May Sartoris, by Frederic Leighton, or the jewelry on the courtesan in La Tour's Cheat With the Ace of Clubs can fill your computer screen, making you wish for an even larger monitor.
Another service of the Art Project lets visitors select two art works for direct comparison from the site's trove of more than 35,000 works from 40 countries. There are more than 180 participating museums that purposefully range from the (who-knew) Istanbul Museum of Modern Art to international powerhouses such as New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Russia's State Hermitage Museum and the Palace of Versailles.
"Bringing art or any object online takes a huge amount of commitment and resources from our partners," says Amit Sood, head of Google Art Project. "It's incredible to think that in a few short years, we have built up such a wealth of precious materials in one online destination."
More than 15 million people have visited Google Art Project since it debuted, and many have recorded their favorite works, in essence curating their own collections to share with other visitors. The addition of the Kimbell to this international gathering of art's finest is a feather in the hatbands of the Kimbell and Fort Worth.
Gaile Robinson is the Star-Telegram art and design critic.