Google Developed a Gigapixel Art Camera to Preserve the Great Works

Art News

May 18, 2016

Art preservation and conservation is the primary responsibility of every museum in the world. Bringing together an immense art knowledge and scientific expertise, museums care for their vast collections ensuring they are maintained in proper condition. Due to the variety of artworks, the existing materials and techniques used to keep art safe vary greatly. Google has developed a camera that can digitize artworks in hi-res easily, offering museums the possibility to capture and share the artworks sensitive to humidity and light and preserve them for future generations to come.

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Google Art Camera, via

The Google Art Camera

Google’s Cultural Institute has built a gigapixel camera that can capture works of art in ultrahi-res providing an extreme close up with so many details that you can actually see the brush strokes, layers of paint, textures and near-hidden signatures. Google will send a passel of these cameras free of charge to museums around the world to celebrate International Museum Day on May 18th. This will allow museums to digitalize their famous pieces of art and document their collections. This is especially handy for artworks that are sensitive to sunlight and humidity. Google expanded their already existing collection on Tuesday with 1000 of artworks in hi-res, including works by Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Rembrandt van Rijn. If you cannot travel the world to see some of your favorite masterpieces, this is certainly the second best option.

images 2016 like apps android search culture google Art Camera
Van Gogh with the Art Camera, via

The Revolutionary Technology

These 1000 images join Google’s existing 200 art scans that were created during the first five years of the Google Cultural Institute. Google’s gigapixel technology is not new, but Google Art Camera has revolutionized this process to become much cheaper, faster and easier to use. Prior to the Art Camera, the process of photographing art took hours and several cameras, needed a completely stable room and it cost thousands of dollars. This new robotic camera uses lasers and sonars to scan the artwork systematically in only 30 minutes. After being set up in front of the artworks, the operator points the camera at each edge of the piece to capture its size. After that, the camera automatically moves inch by inch creating extreme close-ups that are being sent to Google’s servers to be created into a single gigapixel file that you can view online in just a few hours.

Google Art Camera

Google Art Projects

Just a few days before, Google has presented the Google Tilt Brush, a new artistic medium for professionals working in the fields of visual art, fashion design and architecture. Consisted of a VR device and an accompanying technology, this painting tool lets you create sculptural images in 3D that you can observe from every angle and easily share with other users. Promising unprecedented artistic freedom and creation of artworks from scratch, this futuristic and creative tool will certainly influence the world of art greatly. Considering the speed at which Google develops its ideas and its interest in art in general, we can just wonder what comes next.

Featured image: Google Art Camera, via