Tag Archives: Arts and Culture

Explore the angst and beauty in famous works of art

The “Mona Lisa” is probably the most famous painting in art history. But what’s the second most famous? It could very well be  “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. The image has withstood the test of time to become a modern icon, inspiring the famous ‘90s horror film series and even an emoji you may have used on occasion.


In time for Munch’s birthday on Dec. 12, Google Arts & Culture invited YouTube Music rising star Girl in Red to give us her take on the howling cultural icon. It’s the latest in our Art Zoom video series, where pop musicians bring their storytelling lens to masterpieces from art history. And who better than Marie Ulven (aka Girl in Red), who sings about a “pretty face with pretty bad dreams,” to take us through “The Scream’s” hidden details? Follow her and get down to brushstroke level, zooming in and out of the image thanks to our Art Camera’s high-resolution capabilities.
Art Zoom: Girl in Red x Edvard Munch

On a slightly less angsty note, we asked Lolo Zouai, a newcomer on the international R&B scene, to take us on a cheeky tour of Botticcelli’s “Birth of Venus.” If you’ve ever wondered about the story behind the beautiful woman in the giant shell, now you can just click to learn all about about the Uffizi Gallery’s most famous painting.

Art Zoom: Lolo Zouaï x Sandro Botticelli

Give us a shout (or a scream) if you’d like to see more of these collaborations, and join the conversation on #artzoom.


100 Years of Bauhaus on Google Arts & Culture

Even if you’ve never heard of the Bauhaus movement, you’ve probably seen its influence all around you. From traffic signs to office furniture, the legendary design school changed the way our world looks and functions.  

One hundred years after the movement began in Germany, we’re still surrounded by Bauhaus ideas about art, technology and craftsmanship, which are reflected in Google Arts & Culture's newest collection—"Bauhaus Everywhere". The collection came together in partnership with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Germany—as part of our multi-year digitization collaboration—and six other partners including the IIT Institute of Design or the Guggenheim Museum.

Bauhaus design aimed to improve people's lives through functional design. Well-known members of the school, such as its founder Walter Gropius, the controversial Hannes Meyer or Gunta Stölzl, as one of many female designers and artists, have a lasting influence on architecture, furniture design and even typefaces

This project digitizes over 10,000 objects, offers virtual tours of iconic buildings and exhibits over 400 artworks captured with our Art Camera. The result is over 45 online exhibitions curated by our seven partners featuring icons like the world known tubular steel armchair or imagery of “Africa's Finest Campus” and the (perhaps unexpectedly) best selling bauhaus design, wallpaper

There are also unique insights into the everyday student life of Bauhaus including the renowned Bauhaus parties and the forward thinking empowerment of women. And, because the school’s design principles spread far beyond Germany and Europe, we’ve created a Google Earth Voyager Tour to show how people as far away as Japan, India or Brazil were inspired by Bauhaus. 

New shapes, materials and approaches to construction made Bauhaus proposals stand out. Its architectural designs  were especially known for their avantgarde approach. But many of these bold building plans stayed just that, and were never actually constructed. In collaboration with experts from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, the collection contains buildings that had only ever existed on paper and in the minds of their creators. 

Together we assembled archival sketches, scribbles and vague descriptions to create augmented reality models of three visionary structures. In the Google Arts & Culture app anyone can now explore “Round House” by Carl Fieger, “BAMBOS” by Marcel Breuer and “Court House” by Eduard Ludwig from inside and outside. 

László Moholy-Nagy, a teacher at the Bauhaus, put it this way: "Design is not a profession, design is an attitude." We hope you’ll see that the Bauhaus attitude is not just everywhere but, through this exhibit, also for everyone. 


When fashion and choreography meet artificial intelligence

At the Google Arts & Culture Lab in Paris, we’re all about exploring the relationship between art and technology. Since 2012, we’ve worked with artists and creators from many fields, developing experiments that let you design patterns in augmented reality, co-create poetry, or experience multisensory art installations. Today we’re launching two experiments to test the potential of artificial intelligence in the worlds of contemporary dance and fashion.

For our first experiment, Runway Palette, we came together with The Business of Fashion, whose collection includes 140,000 photos of runway looks from almost 4,000 fashion shows. If you could attend one fashion show per day, it would take you more than ten years to see them all. By extracting the main colors of each look, we used machine learning to organize the images by color palette, resulting in an interactive visualization of four years of fashion by almost 1,000 designers.

Everyone can now use the color palette visualization to explore colors, designers, seasons, and trends that come from Fashion Weeks worldwide.  You can even snap or upload a picture of, let’s say, your closet, or autumn leaves, and discover how designers used a similar color palette in fashion.

For our second experiment, Living Archive, we continued our collaboration with Wayne McGregor to create an AI-driven choreography tool. Trained on over 100 hours of dance performances from Wayne’s 25-year archive, the experiment uses machine learning to predict and generate movement in the style of Wayne’s dancers. In July of this year, they used the tool in his creative process for a new work that premiered at the LA Music Center


Today, we are making this experiment available to everyone. Living Archive lets you explore almost half a million poses from Wayne’s extensive archive, organized by visual similarity. Use the experiment to make connections between poses, or capture  your own movement to create your very own choreography.

You can try our new experiments on the Google Arts & Culture experiments page or via our free app for iOS and Android.

See art from the vaults of La Isla del Encanto

Editor’s note: In this guest post, we’ll hear from Carlos R. Ruiz Cortés, Executive Director of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP).

Art can capture both the idiosyncrasies and the national identity of a people. With more than 40,000 artifacts in our National Collection, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña's mission is to share Puerto Rican culture in its diversity and complexity. Since the closing of our national gallery in 2013, these works have been shared through limited museum loans, institutional exhibitions, educational tours and academic research--but they have lacked a permanent space.

Today, in partnership with Google Arts & Culture and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda Jr., we’re launching the first phase of a project which will bring these works out from behind closed doors. You can now zoom in on the intimate dinner scene of “La Mixta,” and see how the brushwork of Cervoni Brenes Francisco brings to life the workers’ day-to-day, or travel through the 18th-century streets depicted by José Campeche y Jordán in his painting “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz.”

We’ve also used Google Arts & Culture’s Art Camera to digitize iconic works from our archives in hyper-detailed resolution. This will allow everyone to explore the images down to brush stroke level and will help us to preserve the works in their current form for future generations.

It has also given our team new insight into the stories these works tell. In “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz,” we were able to see José Campeche y Jordán’s miniature style in great detail, illuminating an interaction in the background of women appealing to men of a higher class. For the first time, we found the signature of Consuelo Peralta de Riego Pica on her painting “Visión de San Felipe Benicio,” granting us a better understanding of this pioneering female artist.

Art Camera in the ICP

The Art Camera at work, digitizing “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz.”

Hurricane Maria reminded us of the urgency of preservation. It devastated our island and awakened the need to preserve our culture while we restored our home. For us, the Art Camera is more than a piece of technology—it's a symbol of universal access. The technology will make Puerto Rico's art accessible to  millions of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to see it. Looking through the lens of Art Camera as it captures Ramón Frade’s “El Pan Nuestro,” I think of how everybody will now have a new lens through which to see Puerto Rico.

Today, the collection is available through Google Arts & Culture to view online at g.co/puertoricanculture for everyone across the world. There, you can find more work online from the Pre-Raphaelite works of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, the range of modern artists at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, and the plurality of art displayed at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

I hope you will visit and see firsthand how our cultural heritage inspires people today, creativity sparking on every corner of San Juan and beyond. It is with joy that we offer this cultural patrimony back to the people of Puerto Rico and celebrate our culture with the world.

See art from the vaults of La Isla del Encanto

Editor’s note: In this guest post, we’ll hear from Carlos R. Ruiz Cortés, Executive Director of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP).

Art can capture both the idiosyncrasies and the national identity of a people. With more than 40,000 artifacts in our National Collection, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña's mission is to share Puerto Rican culture in its diversity and complexity. Since the closing of our national gallery in 2013, these works have been shared through limited museum loans, institutional exhibitions, educational tours and academic research--but they have lacked a permanent space.

Today, in partnership with Google Arts & Culture and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda Jr., we’re launching the first phase of a project which will bring these works out from behind closed doors. You can now zoom in on the intimate dinner scene of “La Mixta,” and see how the brushwork of Cervoni Brenes Francisco brings to life the workers’ day-to-day, or travel through the 18th-century streets depicted by José Campeche y Jordán in his painting “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz.”

We’ve also used Google Arts & Culture’s Art Camera to digitize iconic works from our archives in hyper-detailed resolution. This will allow everyone to explore the images down to brush stroke level and will help us to preserve the works in their current form for future generations.

It has also given our team new insight into the stories these works tell. In “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz,” we were able to see José Campeche y Jordán’s miniature style in great detail, illuminating an interaction in the background of women appealing to men of a higher class. For the first time, we found the signature of Consuelo Peralta de Riego Pica on her painting “Visión de San Felipe Benicio,” granting us a better understanding of this pioneering female artist.

Art Camera in the ICP

The Art Camera at work, digitizing “El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz.”

Hurricane Maria reminded us of the urgency of preservation. It devastated our island and awakened the need to preserve our culture while we restored our home. For us, the Art Camera is more than a piece of technology—it's a symbol of universal access. The technology will make Puerto Rico's art accessible to  millions of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to see it. Looking through the lens of Art Camera as it captures Ramón Frade’s “El Pan Nuestro,” I think of how everybody will now have a new lens through which to see Puerto Rico.

Today, the collection is available through Google Arts & Culture to view online at g.co/puertoricanculture for everyone across the world. There, you can find more work online from the Pre-Raphaelite works of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, the range of modern artists at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, and the plurality of art displayed at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

I hope you will visit and see firsthand how our cultural heritage inspires people today, creativity sparking on every corner of San Juan and beyond. It is with joy that we offer this cultural patrimony back to the people of Puerto Rico and celebrate our culture with the world.

Preserving stories of Black History in the UK and beyond

In 1981, African-American civil rights leader Queen Mother Moore visited the U.K. on a speaking tour that would have an enduring impact on Black British history. Coming in the wake of London’s Brixton uprisings, her teachings from the movement in the U.S. would go on to inspire the foundation of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), a living monument to Black history and culture. 

To celebrate Black History Month in the UK this October, Google Arts & Culture partnered with the BCA to bring its unique collection of images, artifacts and artworks together online for the first time

Based in London’s Brixton neighborhood, the Black Cultural Archives is the only national heritage center dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. With this project, Google Arts & Culture has digitized over 4,000 items from the BCA to help inspire and educate. 

The collection features over 30 online stories, with highlights including the Black Women’s movement in the UK, the evolution of Black British dance and a collection of paintings and ceramics by Jamaican-born artist Rudi Patterson. Thanks to our Art Camera technology, you can now study the intricate details of newly digitized artworks in Gigapixel resolution.

This past summer, Google Arts & Culture also partnered with London’s Somerset House to digitize and share stories from its recent exhibition Get Up, Stand Up Now, which explored the past 50 years of Black creativity in Britain and beyond. The partnership culminated in a new collaboration with Samm Henshaw, recognized by YouTube Music UK as a “One To Watch” emerging artist. Inspired by the generations of creative pioneers featured in the Somerset House exhibition, Samm wrote an original track honoring “the motherland” and invited visual artist Wumi Olaosebikan to contribute a creative response to his song through painting.
Samm Henshaw x Somerset House in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture

The theme of the motherland can also be found in another new exhibition on Google Arts & Culture. Everyone in the world can trace their origins back to East Africa, which is sometimes called the cradle of mankind. We’ve collaborated with the National Museums of Kenya in a new online collection that celebrates the heritage and stories of Kenya’s many communities.

This is Google Arts & Culture’s most ambitious project to date in Africa, and lets you explore Kenya across cultures, generations and geography through over 10,500 high resolution photographs, more than 100 expert-curated exhibits and 60 Street Views

To explore these remarkable stories in more detail, and to discover collections from more than 2,000 museums around the world, visit the Google Arts & Culture app for free either on the web or on iOS or Android.

What is love? (And five other Google searches.)

What is love? Do I have free will? Is there anybody out there? 

These are some of life’s universal questions—questions that many of us, in fact, may bring to Google Search. And while Search can help us get started, we were curious to see what would happen if we brought in performing and visual artists in the UK.

Google Arts & Culture teamed up with BBC Arts to produce “You Asked, Art Answered,” our first collaboration with the BBC. In an unconventional pairing of Search Trends with art, six UK artists from different fields, including the visual arts, poetry and choreography, chose one question and created an imaginative short film to illustrate their response.

  1. Is there is anybody out there?” Spoken word artist Salena Godden goes “behind the internet” to give her response.
  2. What does it mean to be British?” British-Iranian visual artist and provocateur Sarah Maple asked members of the public in the UK, and lip-synced their answers while dressed up as different British icons.
  3. How do you know you’re in love?” Writer, performer and illustrator Jessie Cave uses her own script and special characters and illustrations to explore possible responses.
  4. What is love?” Artist Andy Holden’s avatar seeks the answers as he wanders through a cartoon world and recites lyrics to well-known pop songs.
  5. Do I have free will?” In choreographer and dancer Jamiel Laurence’s energetic piece, two dancers tussle for control over themselves and each other. 
  6. What if I fall?” In “Sensational Simmy,” writer and filmmaker Runyararo Mapfumo imagines a champion runner who faces challenges on her way home one night.

The artists also delved into our partners’ virtual collections on Google Arts & Culture and, using our search tools like Themes, Mediums and Historical Figures, each choose six artworks that correspond to their question. With images ranging from Picasso to Daffy Duck, Andy Holden hopes we might learn something new about the meaning of love. Sarah Maple, enlightening us about British identity, opted for a photo of the Queen laughing and Sarah Lucas’s “Self Portrait with Fried Eggs.” You can explore their selections, and read exclusive interviews with each artist, on our website. Watch the full films on BBC Arts.

Jacquard and Google Arts and Culture weave tech into art

Words that appear out of white tapestries. Music that streams out of black fabric. A mysterious blue cloth-draped spiral that guides you with light and sound.

It may sound like a fantasy novel, but these are real works of art made possible with Jacquard by Google. Combining advanced hardware and software technology with textile and manufacturing know-how, Jacquard helps designers make digital experiences out of everyday objects. An ordinary denim jacket or a backpack transforms into something that answers calls, plays music and takes photos. 

In March, Jacquard (part of Google ATAP) and Google Arts & Culture created an artists in residency program to bring together technology, art and fashion. It was a unique opportunity for creative communities to enhance their work digitally—by weaving Jacquard technology into physical installations—while remaining focused on their original design.

We received more than 200 fascinating project ideas from artists, collectives and technologists all over the world. Chloé Bensahel, Amor Muñoz and OMA Space were selected to turn their proposals into monumental installations. Over the past six months, they collaborated with Google ATAP and Google Arts & Culture Lab engineers to deploy Jacquard technology within the hallowed exhibition rooms of Paris’s Mobilier national, a historic mainstay of furniture and textile manufacturing. Two of the installations were even produced in collaboration with the Mobilier national’s own weaving and pleating experts.

The result is “Please Touch the Thread,” a multisensory exhibition that triggers sounds and light effects when you touch the art. “Tree of Light” by OMA Space is a ten-meter-wide meditative walk. Bensahel’s “Words Wear Worlds” is an ensemble of seven tapestries that took 840 hours of weaving to create. Muñoz’s “Notes & Folds” is a tribute to the works of mathematician Ada Lovelace and composer Conlon Nancarrow. 

Touching, tapping or skimming the art corresponds to hundreds of different combinations, and each visitor has a different experience of the exhibit. Press one letter of Bensahel's tapestry, and you’ll hear that letter being sung. Swipe over a word, and you’ll hear that instead. The volume goes up or down depending on the strength of your touch.

The exhibition is open to the public from October 16th to 20th, during the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), but will also live on digitally on Google Arts & Culture. Online visitors can navigate through 3D models of the installations and dig deeper into each artist’s creative process through exclusive video content.

Explore the Maya world with the British Museum

At first glance, the British Museum and Google may not seem like natural partners. One is a 266-year-old institution venerated as the first national public museum in the world. The other is a 21-year-old former startup and now the world’s largest digital company. 

But if you take a closer look, you’ll see some strong ties. The British Museum was created to host the knowledge of the world in objects and to unlock their stories. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. So when we discovered an opportunity to work together with Google Arts & Culture, it turned out to be a natural fit.

Exploring the Maya World is a bold project to bring a rarely seen collection out of the British Museum repository and into the world. By harnessing the power of new technology to capture and communicate stories about the collections, the project helps bring important stories to a global audience.

This project has fully digitized the remarkable collection of ancient Maya art and architecture gathered by Alfred Maudslay in the late 19th century. Maudslay used the latest technology of his time to record the stories of ancient Maya cities in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. He developed the first dry glass plate photographs of iconic sites like Palenque, Chichen Itza and Tikal, spending years living and working throughout the region. He also created more than 400 large plaster cast replicas of building facades and monuments, which have been stored in the British Museum for more than 100 years. 

This collection represents some of the best preserved records of ancient Maya writing. By working closely with our colleagues in Mexico and Guatemala, we’ve made this entire collection available online for anyone to enjoy and research themselves. The incredible stories that have emerged during this project have also been put online for people to enjoy in Spanish, Portuguese and English anywhere in the world.

The power of this project has been its exceptionally collaborative approach: We’ve brought together curators, indigenous communities, scholars and technology specialists across Mexico, Guatemala, the U.K., Denmark, France and the U.S. Everyone has been united by a common mission to communicate the true value of conserving shared cultural heritage. By working together, I think we’ve achieved that goal. Exploring the Maya World brings to life the energy and dynamism of culture in a way that can be hard to generate within a physical environment. The voices in this project are vibrant and full of color. They tell their own stories and the stories of those that have lived before.

The British Museum already enjoys welcoming more than 6 million visitors to our galleries every year. But we have the potential to reach millions more by bringing our museum to the world virtually. Only a few years ago it would have seemed unrealistic to create a catalog of 3D objects viewable from anywhere in the world, let alone walk around ancient Maya cities while sitting in your living room. These journeys of discovery are critical to help engage all communities with the value and wonder of cultural heritage.  

I believe that these are exactly the kinds of research projects that international museums need to take on. Only by taking risks and pushing the boundaries of what is possible can we begin to expand the reach and role of the 21st-century global museum. This project has inspired me to think differently about the future, and I am excited to see where this technology of imagination will take us next.

You can discover these stories by visiting Exploring the Maya World.

Discover India through its crafts

Crafts are an essential part of India’s rural economy and also play an important role in India’s history and communities across the country today. Expanding our partnership with India’s Ministry of Tourism, we’re launching “Crafted in India” on Google Arts & Culture, so more people from around the world can discover the beauty and heritage of crafts from all 29 states of India. We spoke to Jaya Jaitly, the President of our partner institution Dastkari Haat Samiti, who traveled around the country for two years to document and preserve the items in the exhibition.

Tell us a bit more about yourself and your work in India.
I spent some years of my childhood in Japan, where I became a lover of art, crafts and textiles. I also have a passion for social activism, so it was a natural fit to explore the traditions of my home country India through these guiding principles—showcasing not just the crafts themselves, but how they lift up the economic and social status of the craft-makers. By documenting their work I strive to promote their culture and show how their designs and skills suit a contemporary and ever-changing world.

Why a project about crafts from India?
I was very excited when we got an opportunity to use the platform that Google Arts & Culture has created to show the world our craft creators. They have amazing skills, great resilience and work closely with their communities and environment. There is so much to discover, like how you can craft paper from the most unexpected materials, like pineapple fibres, old currency, or animal dung.

What aspect of Indian crafts did you capture and discover?
I hope we have captured the fantastic diversity of India’s crafts. Our stories show many different lifestyles, languages, communities, identities, styles of dress and traditions that India has nurtured over centuries. I am especially proud of the stories in the exhibition that show the strong role of women.

Working on the project, is there anything in particular that surprised you?
Living in urban India and familiar with many kinds of lifestyles all over the world, I was fascinated to discover how many of our craftspeople hold on to old practices and techniques despite the laborious processes involved. Their versatility in adapting to new materials, audiences and customers showed their sense of pride in their heritage.

How do crafts define the people and the culture of India? What can you learn about India through its crafts?
India is now prominent on all sorts of platforms across the world. And craft, in all its varieties, is one of the strongest crucibles of India’s culture. It can be at the center of developing our rural economy, sustaining our planet and promoting our diverse people and livelihoods. I also hope it will encourage people who enjoy the exhibition to come to India and engage with it more closely—this is just a small peek at the vast treasure chest on offer.