By Jane Vestil
The Importance and Challenges of Art Appreciation
I like to consider myself a forever student, and if there is a subject (or subjects) that I love the most it would be Arts and Culture.
While some people might think that your knowledge of famous Renaissance artists or impressionist paintings don’t offer practical application in real life, unless of course if you want to take your chance at trivia game shows and become a millionaire, when you learn to appreciate art and take a closer look you learn many other things a typical textbook can’t offer.
Art can reveal beauty, joy, and pain in a way that you can actually feel what the creator felt. Isn’t it amazing how one painting carefully preserved can tell so much about human history, behavior, and culture? It makes you ponder on how time has changed the world at the same time it reminds you that there are some things that remain the same throughout the years.
A trip to the museum is always a visually stimulating experience. However, when it’s between science museums and art galleries, the latter offers less excitement especially to children. Not everyone is fortunate to have access to great galleries in their area or have the opportunity to travel to see these spots. When you do get a chance to visit any of these top museums, a one day visit is often not enough, it’s too crowded, or you get tired of craning your neck.
Ultra High Definition Art Pieces at Your Fingertips
Google Art Project is a side project come proper product from Amit Sood, who is now the director of the Google Cultural Institute, that utilizes existing Google street view technology to help museums make their collections more accessible to the public in extraordinary detail you can even see individual brush strokes and cracks.
The bedroom, Vincent van Gogh (Van Gogh Museum)
Many museum directors have been open to the idea of setting up virtual galleries, but Google Art Project takes it to a higher level. Aside from giving web surfers the ability to see up close thousands of art pieces from top museums around the world, you can literally go on a virtual tour inside the building to see how paintings are hung and organized.
Imagine saying this in class one day, “Children, we are going on a cultural tour around the world so you can see ancient warriors, explore breathtaking architecture, and interesting old things dug from the earth.” I bet you can see a lot of excited faces.
A Whole New Way of Looking at Art
The Google Art Project web portal is heavy on images with very few texts. But then again, you don’t learn to appreciate art by reading. You do it by taking a closer look. Google Art Project was one of the educational resources discussed in one of the sessions in AppsEvents Google in Education East Africa summit and I can’t express my delight upon learning about this tool. The experience is really different when you zoom in an art piece. There are surprise discoveries every now and then that you don’t easily see on an actual art piece.
As of this writing, I found a three-headed snake on a pocket watch where one was wearing a crown while the other a fancy hat and I learned that in Van Goh’s “The Starry Night”, you can see a lot of the canvas — the whole canvas area is not completely covered with paint like most oil paintings which I believe adds to the rough appeal of the entire painting.
Have you checked Google Art Project already? We are curious on how you are going to use this wonderful tool to help students learn more about art, culture and history. Don’t forget to share your comments below!