Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

Milan Cathedral, up close and beautiful

There is a particular shade of pink in the marble that makes Milan Cathedral unique. It is this marble, from Candoglia quarries, that inspired Milan Cathedral Remixed to take a fresh look at the iconic Duomo.

The heart of the city

The Duomo has stood in the center of Milan for 635 years — a proud spiritual and architectural reference point for a city in constant evolution. The dream of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, work began in 1386, overseen by the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, which then took care of the conservation and enhancement of the Cathedral.

Looking at the Cathedral today, it’s as though it is in dialogue with the surrounding square and the city beyond. The large stained glass windows with their finely inlaid Biblia pauperum (literally the Bible for the poor — or those who couldn’t read), heralding modern media in their use of images to represent scripture.

The power of technology

Milan Cathedral Remixed was made possible by Google Arts & Culture technology, in partnership with the Veneranda Fabbrica. This ambitious digitization project led to the capture of more than 50 stained glass windows in high resolution, bringing the Google Art Camera to a dizzying height of 30 meters. This captured the details of more than 2,000 stained glass window panels, many of which can’t be seen from ground level. With Street View, we can now see every corner of the Cathedral in 360°, from the highest peak, the Madonnina, down to the Crypt — an underground place of meditation and prayer.

Discover, learn and play with Milan Cathedral Remixed

Read the Biblical stories and find out about the Cathedral’s modern and contemporary art from the 80 narratives that link ancient with contemporary inside the Duomo.

One of these narratives, “Lux fuit” (literally, there was light) takes a close up look at the Cathedral’s windows, the stories they depict and the light flooding through.

These extraordinary stained-glass windows have aroused wonder across the centuries. Many celebratedpoets and authors have written of them, and they inspired the creation of the Google Arts & Culture Coloring Book and Puzzle Party. It is this heritage that Veneranda Fabbrica preserves for us all, and for our descendants.

Visit g.co/milancathedral or download Google Arts & Culture’s Android or iOS app to continue learning and having fun.

Augmented reality brings fine art to life for International Museum Day

Have you ever dreamt of having your portrait taken by a world-famous artist? Or wished a painting would come to life before your eyes? This International Museum Day, we’re unveiling three new Art Filter options via the Google Arts & Culture app so that you can immerse yourself in iconic paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Grant Wood, and Fernando Botero.

Our 3D-modeled augmented reality filter for Starry Night is a creative new twist on our previous Art Filter options and reflects how we continue to innovate with technology. Responding to the evocative atmosphere of Van Gogh’s masterpiece, it lets you set the night sky’s swirling winds and dazzling stars in motion. These filters are possible thanks to our partners in New York, Bogotá, and around the world who make their astonishing collections available online via Google Arts & Culture.

In another first for Art Filter, we’ve introduced face-mirroring effects to Grant Wood’s definitive depiction of midwestern America. See the figures of this celebrated double-portrait in a new light by interacting with both simultaneously. Perhaps you’ll put a smile on their famously long faces? Fernando Botero’s La primera dama, by contrast, needs no cheering up. This voluminous figure captures the Columbian artist’s inimitable Boterismo style in all its vibrancy and humor. Each of our three new Art Filter options draws inspiration from the paintings themselves to make these extraordinary artworks fun and educational for everyone.

Museums exist to preserve and celebrate art and culture. Using immersive, interactive technology, we aim to make these vital institutions more accessible. More than 60 museums from over 15 countries have joined Google Arts & Culture in 2022, joining more than 2000 existing partners to share their new collections and stories.

You can flick through the history of manga, tune into Bob Marley’s positive vibrations, tour an Argentinian palace, and hear powerful oral histories from Black Britain. In addition to art-inspired Art Filter options, you can also explore space, air, and sea with Neil Armstrong’s space suit, Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B, or a deep-sea diving helmet.

The Google Arts & Culture app is available to download for Android or iOS. Tap the Camera icon to immerse yourself in Art Filter (g.co/artfilter), get creative with Art Transfer, find a pawfect match for your animal companion, and more. From the beauty of India’s celebrated crafts to terracotta toys for Greco-Roman children, we hope it will inspire you to explore and interact with incredible artifacts from around the globe and across history.

Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

If you want to get even more up close and personal, you can visualize the pyramids using augmented reality — no matter where you are. You can also listen to acclaimed Sudanese-American poet Emi Mahmood share evocative rhymes that are a beautiful ode to her homeland and to this project that shares Sudan’s rich heritage with others.

We’ve also partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) to bring you more information about Meroë, Gebel Barkal and Napatan region and Sudan’s Sanganeb Marine National Park.

Sculpt, sketch and see the world in new cultural games

Creating new and engaging ways for you to learn about the world's art, culture, and history has always been the focus of the creative coders and artists in residence at the Google Arts & Culture Lab. Play can be an incredible vehicle for learning which is why in 2021 the team launched “Play with Arts & Culture”, a series of puzzle and trivia games that made it fun to discover and learn about cultural treasures from our partners’ collections. Today, you are invited to try four new games which will challenge you to learn through play. Simply visit g.co/artgames or press the Play tab (it looks like this 🎮) within the Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS .

Set your personal best score

All four of these games will let you earn and save High Scores. If you’re logged in to Google Arts & Culture, your best score for each game will be automatically saved and synced across your devices and displayed on the Play page so you never lose track of your personal best. When you beat your record, a congratulatory notification will let you share your high score with friends and challenge them to do better.

We hope you’ll have a lot of fun discovering Arts & Culture through our latest collection of games and learn something interesting along the way. Get playing and start setting your high scores today at g.co/artgames or in the Play tab (it looks like this 🎮) on the Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS.

A brief history of vaccination

Since at least the 1400s, people have looked for ways to protect themselves against infectious diseases. From the practice of “variolation” in the 15th century to today’s mRNA vaccines, immunization has a long history. Integral to that history has been the World Health Organization (WHO), whose global vaccine drives through the 20th and 21st centuries have played such a crucial role in reducing serious illness. For World Immunization Week, WHO has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and scientific institutions from around the world to bring this history vividly to life with A Brief History of Vaccination.

From insufflation to vaccination

Looking back at the history of vaccination, with detailed stories drawn from medical archives, you’ll discover how we arrived at the jabs that have saved lives across the world. While you’ll encounter famous pioneers like Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur, you’ll also learn that vaccination has a much older history. In 15th-century China, for instance, there existed the practice of “insufflation” — blowing dried smallpox scabs into the nostril with a pipe to prevent natural smallpox, which was far more dangerous.

It was in the 20th century that earlier discoveries really started to bear fruit. Smallpox was eradicated globally and vaccines for polio, measles, influenza, hepatitis B, meningitis and many other diseases were developed. It was also the century that saw the inauguration of the WHO and its vital “Expanded Programme on Immunization,”which opened up a truly global front against vaccine-preventable diseases. A Brief History of Vaccination helps you to experience these great advances through photos, archive footage and historic scientific documents.

There are also those whose stories aren’t so well known, but nevertheless deserve to be told. You’ll learn about the enlightened Grand Duke of Tuscany who experimented with inoculation in the 18th century. Also featured here are the Mexican authorities whose efforts to defeat smallpox in the 19th century were ahead of their time.

Unfinished history

Of course, the struggle against infectious disease is ongoing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, new stories emerged of ingenuity and resilience against the odds. You’ll learn of the heroism of Spanish and British health workers, and the man from Uttarakhand who became a one-man ambulance service in the remote mountain villages of northern India.

As authorities and communities around the world have strived to contain the pandemic, it has become ever more apparent that education is key to any successful vaccination program. With this in mind, educators can find a clear and accessible lesson plan that will provide learners with useful information about vaccination history.

Through A Brief History of Vaccination we learn, above all, that our fight against infectious diseases has united people across continents and cultures. As Louis Pasteur observed, “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.”

Preserving cultural heritage worldwide

This article was also published on the U.S. Department of State website.

Have you ever wanted to explore a cultural heritage site in another country, but didn’t know where to start? There’s a platform for that! On World Heritage Day, we invite you to join the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center for a virtual exploration of our heritage preservation projects at sites around the world. Whether you’re a student in Indonesia, a museum curator in Egypt, a teacher in my home state of South Carolina, or an aspiring archaeologist in Argentina, you can now access heritage sites around the world through Google Arts & Culture. We’re excited to partner with Google Arts & Culture so you can explore these sites from anywhere – and perhaps even plan your next travel adventure.

Cultural heritage sites, objects, and traditions are a point of pride for people the world over, but they also require care and vigilance. That’s why the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center works with governments and organizations to preserve and protect cultural heritage from both natural and man-made threats through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). Whether it’s deterioration from years of exposure to the elements, damage from looting, trafficking, and conflict, or the effects of natural disasters and climate change, the AFCP works tirelessly to protect and preserve heritage and they’ve been doing this work for over 20 years!

Launching for the first time on Google Arts & Culture, the Cultural Heritage Center is sharing examples from over 1,100 Ambassadors Fund projects in 130+ countries. Perhaps you’ll be drawn to learn about the former royal residence of Nepal’s kings, Gaddi Baithak. Damaged in a major earthquake near Kathmandu in 2015, it was restored through funding from the Ambassadors Fund.

Tour the history and ingenuity of Great Zimbabwe (11th–15th century). Today, the World Heritage site is threatened by invasive plants and the Ambassadors Fund is working on ecological restoration and preservation.

Dive into over 100 new images of sites like a 13th-century mausoleum in Cairo or a Buddhist temple in Thailand. I encourage you to tour the Ambassadors Fund projects that launched on the platform today and consider how to protect heritage in your community.

To discover how people around the world are using technology to protect their cultural sites against climate change, continue exploring heritage sites on Google Arts & Culture with Heritage on the Edge.

And, we’ll add more stories and sites to the platform in the future.

This new partnership aims to make cultural heritage more accessible and highlight the need to protect heritage in all its forms — so keep an eye on the Cultural Heritage Center’s page to experience new stories of unique cultural preservation. You can also engage with us on Twitter at @ECA_AS and @HeritageAtState, and on Instagram at @ExchangeOurWorld.

Bringing the science of climate data to life through art

Some of the most dramatic climate-fueled changes on our planet are happening in places most of us have no way of visiting. And while data and charts are important, nothing can replace the human experience of witnessing life first-hand.

That is where art comes in. Throughout history, artists have used their work to take people to faraway places and shed light on deep challenges facing humankind. In an important continuation of that legacy, today artists Refik Anadol and female collective Hyphen Labs are asking questions like “What would we see if we scanned the earth for damages?” and “How will we feel the cascading effects of melting ice sheets?”

They offer an answer in two new online artworks published today as part of ourHeartbeat of the Earth program. This program, from Google Arts & Culture and UN Climate Change, invites artists to interpret scientific climate data through interactive online artworks.

These new artworks add to the eight published works since the programstarted in 2020, with the goal of making the data behind the climate crisis more accessible and visible.

“With the impacts of climate change accelerating and becoming more evident every day, it’s more important than ever to engage artists and to use culture as a vehicle for the urgent message around the climate crisis,” said Ovais Sarmad, deputy executive secretary of UN Climate Change. “Complex science and data needs to be displayed in an emotional way, allowing us to understand how global heating impacts us all individually and collectively.”

MRI of the Earth— what would we see if we scanned the Earth for damages?

Artist Refik Anadol interprets our planet’s 'body’—exposing the harm we are inflicting on it through climate change. Anadol then invites you to reflect on the Earth’s beauty through machine learning generated visualizations of the Earth’s natural landscapes and inspire actions for a hopeful future.

Insidious Rising— How will we feel the cascade effects of warming ice sheets?

Global female artist collective Hyphen Labs, together with Iñupiaq (indigenous from North Alaska) artist Allison Akootchook Warden and the Union of Concerned Scientists, explore the cascade effects of warming polar ice sheets and how a warming climate will not only trigger ecological collapse, but also put pressure on existing systems that already disproportionately affect the marginalized.

We hope these artworks will encourage people to learn more about the climate crisis and inspire action.

Manga Out of the Box: the story of a Japanese art form

With its gripping storylines and vivid illustrations, manga is one of Japan’s most beloved art forms. From Doraemon the cat-shaped robot to Astro Boy the android, it has left us with some unforgettable characters. Once considered a ‘subculture’, manga has gone mainstream – and global.

In Manga Out Of The Box – a new collaboration between the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 12 cultural institutions across Japan, and Google Arts & Culture – we take a closer look at this dynamic art form. Through detailed stories, interactive exhibits and exclusive experiments and videos, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the world of manga. Here are five things you can do as part of this virtual exhibit.

1. Learn manga history

The origins of manga, as we know it today, are disputed. In Manga Out of the Box, you’ll be able to dig into this history. Are the 12th-century Chōjū Giga scrolls the first examples of manga? Or is this a case of searching too hard for the present in the distant past? Did manga’s true history begin in the 19th century – with the meeting of Western caricature and Japanese drawing? Find out in these beautifully illustrated stories.

Image from the "Chōjū Giga" first screen showing a rabbit running after a monkey, dating from the 12th century

A part of "Chōjū Giga" first screen, dating from the 12th century

2. Create your own manga with the help of machine learning

With Giga Manga, you’ll be able to create your own manga-style ink drawings with the help of machine learning. In this unique experiment, all you need to do is sketch a few simple lines and add some splashes of color – then let machine learning fill in the rest. You can also draw freeform to personalize your creation further. And when you’re done, the tool will help you discover manga similar to the one you’ve drawn.

Animated image showing a Google Arts & Culture experiment using machine learning to create manga-style ink drawings.

3. Discover influential figures

It’s impossible to imagine Japanese manga without Osamu Tezuka. In works likeAstro Boy and Black Jack, Tezuka stakes a claim as ‘the grandfather’ of modern manga. With his multilayered narratives, sci-fi themes and dark sensibility, he influenced generations of later artists. One of those, Fujiko F. Fujio, went on to define 20th-century manga in his own way. In Doraemon, the friendly cat-shaped robot, Fujio created a cultural icon recognized around the world.

Jungle Emperor Leo was created by Tezuka Osamu

Jungle Emperor Leo was created by Tezuka Osamu

Doraemon the famous character from Fujiko F. Fujio holding a camera

Doraemon, the famous character from Fujiko F. Fujio

4. Visit the editor’s desk

While we rightly celebrate the work of great manga artists, they aren’t the only ones responsible for bringing manga to our shelves. Without dedicated editors, none of this would be possible. Through the story of Naoko Yamauchi, the editor of the popular manga serialSleepeeer Hit!, you’ll learn just how crucial the role of a manga editor is – in this case, Yamauchi and her team provide inspiration for the characters themselves. And, as you’ll learn, it’s not only the editors – there are the platesetters, the marketers, the booksellers and many more who toil into the small hours to bring manga to us.

5. Stay contemporary

Manga’s influence reaches far and wide – touching fashion, internet culture, video games and contemporary art. Indeed, it can be seen in the work of one of Japan's leading contemporary artists, Takashi Murakami. In Manga Out of the Box, you can explore his ongoing project, Doraemon x Takashi Murakami – an expression of his lifelong fondness for Fujiko F. Fujio’s manga classic.

In the 21st century, manga continues to find new fans across the globe. As it evolves and occupies the digital space, it’s worth reflecting on its roots. They provide an insight into its lasting appeal. Reflecting on the playful, humane Doraemon, Takashi Murakami observes: “I think manga is art. I think it’s also a rare, original culture that was brought into the world by postwar Japan.” More acutely, he notes: “Manga is a culture of healing…” Whether you’re a devout manga fan or discovering it for the first time, Manga Out of the Box offers a window into that culture.

Discover more on g.co/manga online or through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.

Explore Bob Marley’s most extensive archive ever

My father, Bob Marley, is one of the most known people in the world. I mean, some people feel as if they know him personally, that's how much history is out there, yet there is so much that is unknown. Bob Marley still holds mystery. We all are still learning new things about him, and some people may just be discovering him.

In this mission we are happy to be partners with Google Arts & Culture to compile and exhibit in one online location the most extensive collection of Bob Marley artifacts. On this great journey we see him, hear his music, we listen to his words, we look at his life and we learn something about him as well as ourselves.

Who is Bob Marley? A fist raised to the air in defiance, a smile that makes you want to smile back, the puff of a spliff amid deep contemplation warning us about the system, inspiring us to stand up for our rights, asking us to help him sing these songs of freedom.

My father has transcended from being just a musician, an artist, an activist, even a legend. Bob Marley is a symbol for love, justice, equality, freedom and unity to people from all walks of life around the world and with the help from the community of countless fans who have uncovered, preserved and shared endless amount of content, always finding something new. Bob Marley’s legacy continues to live and grow. We have worked to find ways of sifting through the massiveness of it all creating curated experiences that help connect the dots of his legacy while providing new angles of discovery.

It is a living project that will continue to grow in the coming months and years. Enjoy the journey.

If you know what life is worth, you would look for yours on Earth. And now you see the light... Bob Marley

Learn more about life and legacy of the king of reggae, and explore “Bob Marley: Legend” on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android or online on Google Arts & Culture.

Meet Mali – home of manuscripts, music and magic

Timbuktu is a city fabled to exist at the edge of the world, where the southern stretches of the Sahara desert end and a world of rich scholarly tradition, architectural wonder and abundant artistic creativity begins. In reality, it’s located in the West African country of Mali, a place filled to the brim with the kind of unmatched cultural richness that comes from traditions and influences from across the Sahara and Sahel melding together in harmony for centuries – all of which “Mali Magic” on Google Arts & Culture will share with you today.

Though popularly known as the historic home of Mansa Musa (the richest man in the world), the true magic of Mali doesn’t stem from these fractured fables so much as from the pillars that define its culture — its manuscripts, music, monuments and modern art — and their unbelievable resilience to human and environmental threats, thanks to the people’s quest to preserve their heritage.

M is for Mali

Mali’s story has often been told with attention to the violence and political unrest the nation has experienced, namely the 2012 coup and subsequent ten-month Jihadist occupation, which resulted in the destruction of many mausoleums, mosques and monuments, the burning of ancient manuscripts, and the breaking of instruments and cancelling of festivals to silence the music traditions that defined its culture. But the Malian people did not let their culture become a victim of destruction. From saving the ancient manuscripts that families protected for years from total destruction, to the contemporary artistic movements that are rising from times of turmoil, the resilience of Mali’s people and culture has been proven. Read more about their effort to preserve and digitize their libraries here.

Mali Magic on Google Arts & Culture shines a light on these heroic stories of resilience and presents Mali’s monuments, manuscripts, music and modern arts in a digital collection of sound and story like no other.

M is for Manuscripts

Long before the European Renaissance, the Malian city of Timbuktu — which at one point was home to a community of scholars that made up a quarter of its whole population — gave birth to an abundance of learning in the fields of morality, politics, astronomy, literature and more surprising topics like black magic and sex advice. This work was captured in thousands of precious manuscripts. These pages have redefined our understanding of African history; Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara, the ‘badass librarian’ known for smuggling the manuscripts out of Timbuktu when their safety was at risk, has said that "they have said that in Africa there is no written history. It’s been said that all the history of Africa is oral. We have more than 400,000 manuscripts here written uniquely by the hands of the hands of Africans. They will see this and say the opposite. It’s a true Renaissance."

Finally, the manuscripts have made their way from family libraries to the world stage: a spectacular collection of 40,000 decorated folios and beautifully scripted Timbuktu manuscripts have been brought to Google Arts & Culture for the world to explore online, and is at the heart of discussions and celebrations to be held in Bamako on March 12th and at the Brooklyn Public Library on March 17th.

M is for Music

From tribal song and dance accompanied by unique traditional instruments, captured on video by Instruments4Africa, to the Festival in the Desert that has hosted the likes of U2 and Mali’s own Fatoumata Diawara, Mali is a place infused with rhythm courtesy of a widespread passion for music. It’s even said that rock ‘n roll and the American blues are deeply rooted in Malian musical and myth-telling traditions.

Today, Mali’s music scene remains strong — musicians from all over Mali have united to cover the iconic Malian artist Ali Farka Touré’s beloved song Houwkuna, Grammy-award nominee Fatoumata Diawara ushers Mali to the front of the world music scene with her brand new EP, Maliba (‘The Great Mali’), and festivals and live concerts are held by the Timbuktu Renaissance and Instruments4Africa to keep soulful sounds and social cohesion alive.

M is for Monuments

A third layer of Mali’s unique cultural landscape is made up of its mosques, mausoleums and monuments. These structures are not just iterations of historic mud architectural styles and commemorations of past events; they are kept alive by the communities who have maintained them for centuries and the efforts to restore them after their recent destruction by those attempting to shake the foundations of Malian culture and identity.

From political unrest and the end of tourism to globalization and pollution, several factors threaten Mali’s monuments and its culture at large. Exploring the Great Mosque of Djenne in 3D, or the first ever Street View of Mali’s mosques and monuments, it’s clear that this built heritage is worth protecting and preserving for generations to come.

M is for Modern Art

Carrying out Mali’s lasting legacy of creativity and vibrant culture are the country’s incoming generation of contemporary artists. Painters, sculptors, and mixed-media creators reflect the color and chaos that they see in the world around them, entwining Mali’s expressive culture with their own unique perspectives, ambitions and explorations.

Addressing the difficulties and destruction that Mali has endured throughout both recent and colonial history, the country’s art scene might represent a space in which Mali’s past can be processed and, through culture and creativity, a future can be rebuilt.

“The day we admit that we lost everything for the profit of others; that day we can truly begin to rediscover ourselves,” says Malian contemporary artist Amadou Sanogo.

Discover more on g.co/MaliMagic online or through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.