Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

The Ghent Altarpiece: how we digitized one of the most influential artworks of all time

Some 600 years ago, the Van Eyck brothers created one of the first large-scale oil paintings: “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” Due to its pioneering attention to detail and realistic portrayal of people, the “Ghent Altarpiece” is renowned as one of the most influential paintings ever made and a defining artwork that represents the start of the Northern Renaissance.

ghent altarpiece (inside).gif

As such an important symbol in art history, the altarpiece has long been highly sought after and widely coveted. Since 1432, when it was first installed at Saint Bavo Cathedral in what’s now Belgium, the Altarpiece has survived 13 crimes. Looted, burned and torn apart, it’s been through the hands of multiple armies, including those of Napoleon and the Nazis.

After World War II, the Monuments Men—a group set up by the Allied armies to protect cultural heritage from the Nazis—brought it back to its original home in Ghent, Belgium. One of the panels—“The Just Judges”—is still missing following its theft in 1934. Its absence remains one of the most intriguing riddles in art history.
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Archives documenting the Altarpiece’s rescue at the end of WWII from the collection of Lukas - Art in Flanders.

Now, the freshly renovated exterior panels of the Altarpiece can be explored in ultra-high resolution on Google Arts & Culture. Thanks to a partnership with the online image library of Flemish art heritage Lukas - Art in Flanders and the Cathedral of Saint-Bavo, we’ve digitized this masterpiece for future generations to explore in unprecedented detail.

Mystic Lamb Altarpiece

Our robotic Art Camera took about 4,000 high-resolution close-ups of the artwork and used those to create the highest ever resolution image ever made of the panels. You can zoom as much as you’d like into more than 8 billion pixels.

20160926_google_078.JPG
Art Camera digitizing one of the 10 exterior panels of the Altarpiece

Discover amazing details, revealed by the panels’ recent renovation: for example, a charming view of medieval Ghent which used to be barely visible. Now you can even make out the lines of the book Mary is reading.

Altarpiece_detail.png

This is one of the latest efforts by Google Arts & Culture to provide institutions with the tools to digitally preserve their collections and make cultural heritage more accessible to everyone.

Explore the adventurous past and rescue of the Altarpiece today—and download Google Art & Culture app on iOS or Android for a daily dose of culture.

The Ghent Altarpiece: how we digitized one of the most influential artworks of all time

Some 600 years ago, the Van Eyck brothers created one of the first large-scale oil paintings: “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” Due to its pioneering attention to detail and realistic portrayal of people, the “Ghent Altarpiece” is renowned as one of the most influential paintings ever made and a defining artwork that represents the start of the Northern Renaissance.

ghent altarpiece (inside).gif

As such an important symbol in art history, the altarpiece has long been highly sought after and widely coveted. Since 1432, when it was first installed at Saint Bavo Cathedral in what’s now Belgium, the Altarpiece has survived 13 crimes. Looted, burned and torn apart, it’s been through the hands of multiple armies, including those of Napoleon and the Nazis.

After World War II, the Monuments Men—a group set up by the Allied armies to protect cultural heritage from the Nazis—brought it back to its original home in Ghent, Belgium. One of the panels—“The Just Judges”—is still missing following its theft in 1934. Its absence remains one of the most intriguing riddles in art history.
output_sM4QuS (1).gif

Archives documenting the Altarpiece’s rescue at the end of WWII from the collection of Lukas - Art in Flanders.

Now, the freshly renovated exterior panels of the Altarpiece can be explored in ultra-high resolution on Google Arts & Culture. Thanks to a partnership with the online image library of Flemish art heritage Lukas - Art in Flanders and the Cathedral of Saint-Bavo, we’ve digitized this masterpiece for future generations to explore in unprecedented detail.

Mystic Lamb Altarpiece

Our robotic Art Camera took about 4,000 high-resolution close-ups of the artwork and used those to create the highest ever resolution image ever made of the panels. You can zoom as much as you’d like into more than 8 billion pixels.

20160926_google_078.JPG
Art Camera digitizing one of the 10 exterior panels of the Altarpiece

Discover amazing details, revealed by the panels’ recent renovation: for example, a charming view of medieval Ghent which used to be barely visible. Now you can even make out the lines of the book Mary is reading.

Altarpiece_detail.png

This is one of the latest efforts by Google Arts & Culture to provide institutions with the tools to digitally preserve their collections and make cultural heritage more accessible to everyone.

Explore the adventurous past and rescue of the Altarpiece today—and download Google Art & Culture app on iOS or Android for a daily dose of culture.

See Our Latest Data Center Murals

Last May, we announced the Data Center Mural Project, a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside. Two artists in Oklahoma and Belgium created murals that celebrate both the work that happens inside the buildings and the communities where the data centers reside.

Today, we’re excited to unveil our next two data center murals.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, painter Gary Kelley’s mural shows how Council Bluffs has served as a hub of information for centuries. Ideas have always flowed through the region, from Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad, and now the data center in Council Bluffs is helping bring the internet to people all over the world. 

In Dublin, Ireland, illustrator Fuchsia MacAree was inspired by how Ireland’s unique climate and fresh air, rather than mechanical cooling, regulates the temperature of Google’s data center. She’s created a series of whimsical murals depicting a windy day in Dublin, including scenes from local landmarks like Grand Canal Square, Phoenix Park and Moore Street Market.

Check out photos and videos of all the data center murals at g.co/datacentermurals.

See Our Latest Data Center Murals

Last May, we announced the Data Center Mural Project, a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside. Two artists in Oklahoma and Belgium created murals that celebrate both the work that happens inside the buildings and the communities where the data centers reside.

Today, we’re excited to unveil our next two data center murals.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, painter Gary Kelley’s mural shows how Council Bluffs has served as a hub of information for centuries. Ideas have always flowed through the region, from Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad, and now the data center in Council Bluffs is helping bring the internet to people all over the world. 

In Dublin, Ireland, illustrator Fuchsia MacAree was inspired by how Ireland’s unique climate and fresh air, rather than mechanical cooling, regulates the temperature of Google’s data center. She’s created a series of whimsical murals depicting a windy day in Dublin, including scenes from local landmarks like Grand Canal Square, Phoenix Park and Moore Street Market.

Check out photos and videos of all the data center murals at g.co/datacentermurals.

Source: Google Cloud


See our latest data center murals

Last May, we announced the Data Center Mural Project, a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside. Two artists in Oklahoma and Belgium created murals that celebrate both the work that happens inside the buildings and the communities where the data centers reside.

Today, we’re excited to unveil our next two data center murals.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, painter Gary Kelley’s mural shows how Council Bluffs has served as a hub of information for centuries. Ideas have always flowed through the region, from Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad, and now the data center in Council Bluffs is helping bring the internet to people all over the world. 

In Dublin, Ireland, illustrator Fuchsia MacAree was inspired by how Ireland’s unique climate and fresh air, rather than mechanical cooling, regulates the temperature of Google’s data center. She’s created a series of whimsical murals depicting a windy day in Dublin, including scenes from local landmarks like Grand Canal Square, Phoenix Park and Moore Street Market.

Check out photos and videos of all the data center murals at g.co/datacentermurals.

Source: Google Cloud


Who run the world? How we’re celebrating International Women’s Day

Lee Tai-Young was Korea's first female lawyer and first female judge. Cecilia Grierson was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina. And Ida B. Wells was a newspaper editor by age 25 and one of the founders of the NAACP. These are a few of the remarkable women you’ll meet in today’s Doodle celebrating International Women’s Day, one of several ways we’re raising awareness about the contributions of women, past and present, throughout Women’s History Month. We’re also supporting efforts to close the gender gap in tech and other fields. Read on for a look at what we’re doing to recognize women across media, culture, leadership and more this month.

Celebrating historical heroines

In today’s interactive slideshow Doodle, a young girl goes on an imaginary journey to meet 13 female trailblazers from throughout history. From a pilot in Egypt to a dancer in India, these women may not all be household names, but they’ve all made a unique mark on the world. In fact, all of them have been celebrated in a Doodle in the past, but often only in their countries of origin. Today, we’re sharing their stories worldwide.

IWD doodle

After your journey, learn more about all of the women in the Doodle in a new Spotlight Story from Google Arts & Culture. See the São Paulo Museum of Art, designed by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, or the Phoenician alphabet tablet with which Halet Cambel deciphered Hittite hieroglyphics. You can also find more exhibits on notable women from throughout history on our Women in Culture page. You might just meet a new heroine!

A day in the life of women astronauts, pilots and engineers with VR

Today’s Doodle introduces you to notable women of the past, but what about the women of today and tomorrow? With Expeditions, more than 2 million students have gone on 500+ virtual field trips to places like Machu Picchu and the International Space Station using Google Cardboard. Today we’re adding 40 new Expeditions to this collection, all focused on on the careers, adventures, and contributions of women.

IWD_NASAWomen(3).jpg

The new Expeditions highlight everyone from astronauts, airplane pilots, engineers and photographers to the female firefighters of the FDNY. They open a window into a typical day on the job—whether in a recording studio or a cockpit, explain the person’s backstory and reveal how she got to where she is today. Some also offer advice to students interested in pursuing a similar career. Download the app on iOS and Android to get started.

Recognizing inspirational women on YouTube

Rosie Rios, an inspiring woman in her own right as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, led the efforts to put a woman on U.S. currency. That meant learning more about the hundreds of American women who made great contributions to the history of this country. Now she’s created a special playlist for YouTube Kids called “Super Women of Our Past” that introduces young people to some of these women, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harriet Tubman to Grace Hopper.  Watch with the YouTube Kids app. You can also find other, related playlists, like “Celebrate Women’s History Month” and “Celebrate International Women’s Day.”
IWD_NASAWomen(2).jpg

YouTube is also working to turn up the volume on inspirational women’s voices through the #HerVoiceIsMyVoice campaign. We hope you’ll join by sharing a video of a woman whose voice speaks to you.

Her Voice is My Voice

Tracking screen time

GDIQ
The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ) tool uses machine learning to detect different characters on-screen, determine their gender, and calculate how often and for how long they spoke in relation to one another.

Media can play a huge part in empowering women to discover new careers, but often the characters we see on screen aren’t very diverse. Recently, our machine learning team worked with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and USC Viterbi School of Engineering to develop a new tool that uses machine learning to measure how often we see and hear women on screen. We then put the software to work, analyzing the 100 highest-grossing live-action films from the past three years. The tool revealed that men are seen and heard nearly twice as often as women. In Academy Award-winning films, women make up just 32 percent of screen time and 27 percent of speaking time. In a world where girls are only half as likely as boys to have CS role models, representation matters. Over time, we hope this project can help raise awareness of the “missing women” in media, encourage filmmakers to include a broader range of characters, and introduce young people to more diverse role models.

Coming together in the community

We’re also participating in or hosting dozens of events supporting women at Google and in tech. Last weekend we held the first of many Women Techmakers summits, which offer hands-on coding workshops on TensorFlow, networking opportunities and inspiring speakers. Women Techmakers is also sponsoring more than 140 community meetups for women in tech worldwide. Many of our 120 Women@Google employee resource group chapters are hosting events—from career development workshops to civic action weeks—in cities around the world. And at our Cloud Next event headed by Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud, we’ll feature women leaders from Google and partners in a

The She Word: spotlighting women Googlers

There are thousands of powerful, dynamic and creative women at Google. This month, you can get to know some of them right here on the Keyword and our Instagram account, starting with Alexandrina Garcia-verdin, whose personal hero is Frida Kahlo, and Tea Uglow, who loves coffee (but not tea).

These are just a few of the women who inspire us. We hope you’ll share some of your own. Whether it’s empowering female voices as part of #HerVoiceIsMyVoice, or telling your personal story with #TodayIAm, we’re excited to hear it.

Who run the world? How we’re celebrating International Women’s Day

Lee Tai-Young was Korea's first female lawyer and first female judge. Cecilia Grierson was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina. And Ida B. Wells was a newspaper editor by age 25 and one of the founders of the NAACP. These are a few of the remarkable women you’ll meet in today’s Doodle celebrating International Women’s Day, one of several ways we’re raising awareness about the contributions of women, past and present, throughout Women’s History Month. We’re also supporting efforts to close the gender gap in tech and other fields. Read on for a look at what we’re doing to recognize women across media, culture, leadership and more this month.

Celebrating historical heroines

In today’s interactive slideshow Doodle, a young girl goes on an imaginary journey to meet 13 female trailblazers from throughout history. From a pilot in Egypt to a dancer in India, these women may not all be household names, but they’ve all made a unique mark on the world. In fact, all of them have been celebrated in a Doodle in the past, but often only in their countries of origin. Today, we’re sharing their stories worldwide.

IWD doodle

After your journey, learn more about all of the women in the Doodle in a new Spotlight Story from Google Arts & Culture. See the São Paulo Museum of Art, designed by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, or the Phoenician alphabet tablet with which Halet Cambel deciphered Hittite hieroglyphics. You can also find more exhibits on notable women from throughout history on our Women in Culture page. You might just meet a new heroine!

A day in the life of women astronauts, pilots and engineers with VR

Today’s Doodle introduces you to notable women of the past, but what about the women of today and tomorrow? With Expeditions, more than 2 million students have gone on 500+ virtual field trips to places like Machu Picchu and the International Space Station using Google Cardboard. Today we’re adding 40 new Expeditions to this collection, all focused on on the careers, adventures, and contributions of women.

IWD_NASAWomen(3).jpg

The new Expeditions highlight everyone from astronauts, airplane pilots, engineers and photographers to the female firefighters of the FDNY. They open a window into a typical day on the job—whether in a recording studio or a cockpit, explain the person’s backstory and reveal how she got to where she is today. Some also offer advice to students interested in pursuing a similar career. Download the app on iOS and Android to get started.

Recognizing inspirational women on YouTube

Rosie Rios, an inspiring woman in her own right as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, led the efforts to put a woman on U.S. currency. That meant learning more about the hundreds of American women who made great contributions to the history of this country. Now she’s created a special playlist for YouTube Kids called “Super Women of Our Past” that introduces young people to some of these women, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harriet Tubman to Grace Hopper.  Watch with the YouTube Kids app. You can also find other, related playlists, like “Celebrate Women’s History Month” and “Celebrate International Women’s Day.”
IWD_NASAWomen(2).jpg

YouTube is also working to turn up the volume on inspirational women’s voices through the #HerVoiceIsMyVoice campaign. We hope you’ll join by sharing a video of a woman whose voice speaks to you.

Her Voice is My Voice

Tracking screen time

GDIQ
The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ) tool uses machine learning to detect different characters on-screen, determine their gender, and calculate how often and for how long they spoke in relation to one another.

Media can play a huge part in empowering women to discover new careers, but often the characters we see on screen aren’t very diverse. Recently, our machine learning team worked with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and USC Viterbi School of Engineering to develop a new tool that uses machine learning to measure how often we see and hear women on screen. We then put the software to work, analyzing the 100 highest-grossing live-action films from the past three years. The tool revealed that men are seen and heard nearly twice as often as women. In Academy Award-winning films, women make up just 32 percent of screen time and 27 percent of speaking time. In a world where girls are only half as likely as boys to have CS role models, representation matters. Over time, we hope this project can help raise awareness of the “missing women” in media, encourage filmmakers to include a broader range of characters, and introduce young people to more diverse role models.

Coming together in the community

We’re also participating in or hosting dozens of events supporting women at Google and in tech. Last weekend we held the first of many Women Techmakers summits, which offer hands-on coding workshops on TensorFlow, networking opportunities and inspiring speakers. Women Techmakers is also sponsoring more than 140 community meetups for women in tech worldwide. Many of our 120 Women@Google employee resource group chapters are hosting events—from career development workshops to civic action weeks—in cities around the world. And at our Cloud Next event headed by Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud, we’ll feature women leaders from Google and partners in a

The She Word: spotlighting women Googlers

There are thousands of powerful, dynamic and creative women at Google. This month, you can get to know some of them right here on the Keyword and our Instagram account, starting with Alexandrina Garcia-verdin, whose personal hero is Frida Kahlo, and Tea Uglow, who loves coffee (but not tea).

These are just a few of the women who inspire us. We hope you’ll share some of your own. Whether it’s empowering female voices as part of #HerVoiceIsMyVoice, or telling your personal story with #TodayIAm, we’re excited to hear it.

A technological Renaissance for cultural institutions

Editor’s Note: Last week in Florence, we joined the Uffizi Galleries for a two-day summit to discuss the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age. In this post, Eike Schmidt, the Director of the Uffizi Galleries, shares his thoughts on how technology can enable access to cultural heritage. You can explore over 70 masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Uffizi Galleries on Google Arts & Culture, including the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli in ultra-high resolution.

People’s ability to access cultural heritage in the future will rely on technology, and on our ability to work together across disciplines.

Last week in Florence we hosted Digital Meets Culture, a two-day summit organized in partnership with Google. We welcomed leaders of cultural institutions, academics, representatives of UNESCO, the European Commission and national governments from 23 countries. Together we discussed the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age, as well as the potential digital technology offers for the cultural sector to grow. These discussions are reflected in a paper titled “Recommendation for the future of digital and culture” which you can read here in full.

Digital Meets Culture Global Summit
Participants of the Digital Meets Culture Global Summit. Credit: Luca Parisse

The recommendation highlights the importance of digital tools and skills cultural institutions need to share their riches with an even wider audience and allow everyone to explore the world’s cultural heritage. Our  commitment to preserve culture in all its forms with the latest available technology is crucial, so that often fragile pieces of heritage can continue to be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

In today’s global world, more than ever, it is critical to embrace the diversity of our social and cultural identities. And technology can help us in our work protecting this diversity. Digital platforms are undoubtedly powerful tools in nurturing mutual understanding across cultures.

As one of the first partner museums of Google Arts & Culture, it was my honor to host the meetings in Florence, engage in the discussions and be part of the first Digital Meets Culture Summit. I hope some of these findings will serve as basis for further discussions on technology and culture. What is clear to me is that by working collaboratively, across disciplines, we can move a step closer towards making arts and culture universally accessible. I believe that it is through harnessing the latest technology and combining that with our love of culture will bring about a Renaissance for our institutions for the benefit of all who care about our cultures.

About the author: Dr Eike Schmidt was appointed Director of the Uffizi Galleries in 2015. Born in 1968 in Freiburg (Germany), he is an art historian and international expert in Florentine art. Former curator and researcher at among others, National Gallery of Art in Washington, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, he was the Director of the Department of European Sculpture & Works of Art at Sotheby’s, London.

A technological Renaissance for cultural institutions

Editor’s Note: Last week in Florence, we joined the Uffizi Galleries for a two-day summit to discuss the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age. In this post, Eike Schmidt, the Director of the Uffizi Galleries, shares his thoughts on how technology can enable access to cultural heritage. You can explore over 70 masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Uffizi Galleries on Google Arts & Culture, including the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli in ultra-high resolution.

People’s ability to access cultural heritage in the future will rely on technology, and on our ability to work together across disciplines.

Last week in Florence we hosted Digital Meets Culture, a two-day summit organized in partnership with Google. We welcomed leaders of cultural institutions, academics, representatives of UNESCO, the European Commission and national governments from 23 countries. Together we discussed the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital age, as well as the potential digital technology offers for the cultural sector to grow. These discussions are reflected in a paper titled “Recommendation for the future of digital and culture” which you can read here in full.

Digital Meets Culture Global Summit
Participants of the Digital Meets Culture Global Summit. Credit: Luca Parisse

The recommendation highlights the importance of digital tools and skills cultural institutions need to share their riches with an even wider audience and allow everyone to explore the world’s cultural heritage. Our  commitment to preserve culture in all its forms with the latest available technology is crucial, so that often fragile pieces of heritage can continue to be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

In today’s global world, more than ever, it is critical to embrace the diversity of our social and cultural identities. And technology can help us in our work protecting this diversity. Digital platforms are undoubtedly powerful tools in nurturing mutual understanding across cultures.

As one of the first partner museums of Google Arts & Culture, it was my honor to host the meetings in Florence, engage in the discussions and be part of the first Digital Meets Culture Summit. I hope some of these findings will serve as basis for further discussions on technology and culture. What is clear to me is that by working collaboratively, across disciplines, we can move a step closer towards making arts and culture universally accessible. I believe that it is through harnessing the latest technology and combining that with our love of culture will bring about a Renaissance for our institutions for the benefit of all who care about our cultures.

About the author: Dr Eike Schmidt was appointed Director of the Uffizi Galleries in 2015. Born in 1968 in Freiburg (Germany), he is an art historian and international expert in Florentine art. Former curator and researcher at among others, National Gallery of Art in Washington, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, he was the Director of the Department of European Sculpture & Works of Art at Sotheby’s, London.

Bringing the We Love You Project to Google Arts & Culture

Editor’s Note: Today we're launching a new exhibit in Google Arts & Culture featuring the work of photographer Bryon Summers. We've invited Summers to share more about the We Love You Project in this post.

In 2016 I set out to create 1,000+ portraits of Black men of all ages.

From the moment we’re born, Black boys are bombarded with images that strip us of our humanity. We see Black bodies cast as criminals and predators, implicitly urging viewers of all stripes to believe these characterizations as unwavering truths of Black male identity. What we don’t see are the smiling, reassuring, loving faces of our sons, brothers, cousins, husbands and fathers. With the We Love You Project, I wanted to show that even though we may feel as if our bodies are under attack, we’re still part of a larger community that loves and supports us.

WLYProject_EvanWard_BtS_Blog.jpg
Bryon takes a photo of Evan Ward at Google's Mountain View campus

The We Love You Project has now surpassed 500 participants, and the groundswell of support and joyful participation from Black men across the country has been one of the most powerful experiences of my artistic career. As we continue to photograph Black men and boys, we want to ensure that our work continues to be seen and drives meaningful conversations about many Black men’s experiences in America. This is why we’ve partnered with Google Arts & Culture to create a digital gallery of more than 500 portraits from the series.

Google also invited us to photograph Black Googlers at its Mountain View headquarters—another huge turning point for the project. Not only is Google helping us reach our goal of 1,000 portraits, the company's participation reflects its commitment to diversity and to being an ally of the Black community.

We Love You lets viewers connect with Black men candidly and up close—in moments of vulnerability as well as levity. The photos reveal not just who we are now, but who we’ve been in the past and who we aspire to be tomorrow. Above all, the project convinces me of the great possibilities ahead, not just for Black men, but for all people. A thousand is only the beginning.