Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Google art gallery

Life can never be ordinary with new things to discover all along the way. 

That these finds often derive from ordinary and daily occurrences is perhaps the happiest discovery of all.

My newest find came by way of some general conversation which tells you how much can be learned through the simple art of visiting. 

The subject came up as things do when different topics are touched upon in a random and relaxed way with friends. 

Some particular bit of knowledge or piece of experience is remarked upon and you realize here's a gift you wouldn't have come upon or not as soon or as easily.

The discussion was about art and someone mentioned art galleries. Collections fortunate enough to have viewed came up.

A comment was made about how much world art there is to see. A sigh rose from one or more at the unsaid sad truth. At our age there's finite time and resources for all the galleries we still want to get to. 

The valuable tip dropped among us as if the collective intake of breath around the table at the thought of artistic offerings likely to be missed was too much to bear. 

In a group there's always one who has an edge on knowing about things. This friend spoke now.

"Try Google art gallery," she urged. The quiet that followed told her all she needed to know. Once again she'd have to fill us in.

We learned that entering the words Google art gallery into the computer search engine can whisk us to impeccable art galleries almost anywhere. 

The site, I found out later, goes by the name Google art project. It's the better name of the two to use in accessing the collections. It's like hopping on the express when you want to zip downtown.

The beauty in this viewer's site is there are no air tickets to purchase to get to the cities with these fabulous art collections

There's no luggage to pack, admission prices to consider, schedules to plan around or viewing queues to wait in.

A friend with whom the Google site was later shared responded as I expect many of us feel who are in possession of this information. "Nice that I can see some great art without putting on snow boots."

It's stupendous, and even bigger than that, to have art from around the world at your fingertips. 

The Google art project is a lengthy list of participating art galleries and museums. 

Choose the gallery you wish to visit. Scroll through its collection and click on the artwork you want to bring up, study or learn about.

With another click you can enlarge any painting or piece in the collections. This feature is amazing. 

The detail it reveals is incredible. It allows the kind of scrutiny, managed at your computer screen, that once was reserved for the specialists.

You take in the patterns in the woven fabrics, the richness of the folds of material, the exquisite workmanship in the design of the jewelry and the delicate tints of the flowers in the gardens and bowers.  

You've never studied paintings quite like this. You can give a picture any amount of your time and always come back to it. 

You can be as academic as you wish. Click a Details button and information about each piece comes up. It's an art education immersion course as you craft it to your fit.

Wanting to know more about the Google art project I found a Wikipedia entry that explains the Google site and talks about its start.

In almost every undertaking the start holds the energy for much of the rest which follows and the article covers this aspect of the story very well.

The Wikipedia entry in its entirety was a helpful read. I recommend it before you begin browsing the Google art project.

This project stands out as a collaborative effort. For a moment appreciate the resources that had to be linked to make this site happen. 

All this was building quietly but with the resolve that comes when great ideas meet great champions of those ideas.

I began looking through the art collections during the holidays. 

The Renaissance period of art with its vivid colors, and its artists known for their tender Madonna and child interpretations, seemed most apropos as a start. 

Manger scenes, done by various Italian masters, caught the wonder and innocence of the Christ child born in a stable. 

These works, with the reverence accorded the scene, and the simplicity of the figures brought together by his birth, added something special to my holiday season.

I'm not concentrating on favorite pictures as I browse the site but will do so as I gain expertise. 

With practice the search will go more efficiently. For now I'm content to pause at a painting that has some quality that compels me and then move on to another. It's like picking bouquets in a field of flowers.

Landscape backgrounds are my current interest as I scroll through the paintings. 

The backgrounds appear put in almost as afterthoughts in some paintings. Others are very realistic right to individual trees or the stones in the faraway towers.

The individualistic brush strokes and the care or casualness with which distance is conveyed in each of the landscapes make me realize we all have backdrops to the story that is us.

Some of us have origins and experiences that are clearly discernible like the sharp backgrounds in some paintings admired at the Google site.  

Others of us have back stories that are hazy unless someone stands really close in. Even misty and undefined backgrounds give a certain impactful dimension to the story. 

This becomes the first lesson, applicable to art and life, taken from the Google art project.

Growing up in a rural area I'm moved by the agricultural themed paintings. I never lived on a farm but am familiar with the hard vigorous life that was farm life then. 

The toil and wages of the physical life are in the depicted farm workers as they labor at harvest or rest at the edge of their work.

Eyes, hands and pose of the bodies catch the nobility of work and also the compression of spirit when work is never finished or physical capacity is exceeded.  

The paintings are usually without false idealization. The strength and weariness come through. 

Some pictures are breathtaking for the pastoral restfulness they convey. The laborers become part of this rosy aspect which tends to soften the reality.

Portraits of the rich and working class, gypsies, ruffians, sailors, children, the elderly seamed with life, the young blue-eyed Napoleon coming to the height of power, and royals with their equally imperative stance, are all ones to get to know. 

We presume some glimpse of their inner life through their outward mien. The proud and the humble, arrogant and modest, movers and shakers and least among us are represented that we may learn from them.

I'm anxious, as I settle into a more thorough review of the Google project, to spend  time with the Impressionist works I like so well. 

Some of the artists are old friends, so much have they given me as they catch the light in their work. 

They are Camille Pissarro, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Vincent van Gogh and many more, whose works I've stood before in art galleries or studied out of books. 

Google art gallery is an invitation to renew ties with these who influenced and decided early artistic tastes.

Ro Giencke - January 8, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment