Nothing beats seeing in real life all those wonderful paintings that you’ve been studying in school or looking at on the Internet. But not all of us are able to actually visit museums all over the world and experience that for ourselves. Fortunately, the next best thing would be a virtual reality or augmented reality experience. A new feature called Pocket Gallery in the Google Arts & Culture app aims to do just that and they’re bringing Vermeer paintings as an initial offering.
Anyone that has a passing knowledge of paintings know the famous “Girl With A Pearl Earring” and serious art enthusiasts know of course its painter Johanes Vermeer. There are 36 works attributed to the artist and they are scattered all over the world, with some too fragile to travel so you can’t have any kind of retrospective. Well now, you actually can see them all in one place with the Pocket Gallery feature.
All you have to do is install the app, make sure your phone supports ARCore, and then step into the virtual exhibition space so you see all 36 of his works. This includes the aforementioned famous girl and her pearls and even his missing masterpiece, The Concert, which was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston 28 years ago. Step closer to your phone and you’ll see the stunning details of each of his paintings, which have been curated by experts from the Mauritshuis Museum in the Netherlands.
Google used its Art Camera, a robotic camera with ultra-high resolution and created specifically for artworks. The app also has “in painting tours” for each of the 36 paintings as well as guided insights into selected artworks. There are also expert stories about Vermeer’s career and his “mysterious life”.
Google’s #MeetVermeer “campaign” also has a an interactive coloring book, stickers on Instagram that you can use to make your own composition, and even several original content on YouTube. Hopefully, this is just the first in Google Arts & Culture’s Pocket Gallery feature.