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12 Apr 2012

British art on Google Art Project

painted seascape, dominated by cloudy grey sky, light breaking through, a steamship with steam rising from its funnel in near-silhouette on the right
JMW Turner, Staffa – Fingal’s Cave (1831-2). Yale Center for British Art, New Haven

“I don’t know how many wonders of the world there are by now, but it is possible that the Google Art Project will someday join the list. The greatly expanded second iteration of this online compilation of self-selected art museums and artworks was unveiled last week. It makes available images of more than 32,000 works in 31 mediums and materials, from the collections of 151 museums and arts organizations worldwide, forming a broad, deep river of shared information, something like a lavishly illustrated art book fused with high-end open storage … There seems to be a general consensus that 50 to 250 images of artworks per museum is the appropriate number, but there are some wonderful, slightly insane exceptions. The top contributor is the Yale Center for British Art, which has uploaded images of 5,414 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings by 580 artists – about 10 to 12 percent of its entire collection and everything in the public domain that appears on its own Web site -including scores of works by John Constable and J. M. W. Turner.” (Roberta Smith in New York Times, 12 April 2012)

Euan Uglow, 1932-2000: radical clarity, Browse & Derby, London, 12 April – 11 May