Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels: Two Emblematic Works Now on Google Art
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Comes to Google Art!
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium has been invited to joing the Google Art Project as of April 2012 as part of the second phase of the initiative. The Google Art Project is part of a range of efforts developed by the Digital Museum team, whose goal is to highlight the Royal Museums´ collections through digitisation and Internet distribution.
Very high-resolution reproductions were created under the aegis of the Heritage Digitisation Project of the Etablissements scientifiques fédéraux (ESF), with financing from the Belgian Science Policy Office. They are available to the public on the Google Art Project site. The selected works span the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, and include paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jacob Jordaens, Rogier van der Weyden, Gustaf Wappers, Alfred Stevens, Jacques-Louis David and Fernand Khnopff.
Two of the Royal Museums´ most emblematic works, Marat Assassinated by Jacques-Louis David (inv. 3260), and The Numbering at Bethlehem (inv. 3637) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, were given special treatment. The digitisation process included the use of a multispectral camera developed by Lumière Technology in Paris. This technology – which has also been used for other masterpieces, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Lady with an Ermine – reveals data that is invisible in the infrared and ultraviolet spectra. In addition to providing useful information for understanding artworks, the images produced by the multispectral camera are of such high definition that they allow users to examine barely visible details.
A second work by Bruegel, The Fall of the Rebel Angels, also received special treatment – the same that was given to Rembrandt's The Night Watch (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) under the first phase of the Google Art Project. The digital image of this work is comprised of thousands of individual files consisting of nearly a billion pixels. To achieve this, the painting was photographed at night in order to avoid any light interference or vibrations from passing cars on nearby streets. The extraordinary image that was produced reveals the composition’s subtlest strokes.
Launched in February 2011, The Google Art Project offers virtual tours of seventeen of the world's major museums, including the New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in London, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. Each of the partner museums selected a number of key works from its collections, which were then digitised at a very high resolution. A user-friendly interface allows visitors to zoom in on details that are often invisible to the naked eye.
Watch the project come together in this video: