Logging into the art world

Updated: 24 March, 2020 10:50 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

With galleries and museums shut, Google's online resource is perfect to keep you busy with high resolution images and virtual tours. Our fave picks

An illustration from Women of India. Pic courtesy/BDL Museum
An illustration from Women of India. Pic courtesy/BDL Museum

Art has always emerged victorious in challenging times because of its power to offer hope. And now, even if you have no gallery or museum to go to, technology has ensured that they come to you. Launched in 2011, Google Arts & Culture (GAC) is an online platform that enables you to view over 32,000 artworks for free. It also makes browsing across museums convenient with curated lists that enable you explore by artists, mediums and art movements categories. We gave the website a workout and these are our best five picks.

Log on to artsandculture.google.com

Back to Bombay

Tasneem Mehta
Tasneem Mehta

Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum was the first museum in Mumbai to partner with GAC in 2016. "It has a unique educational value through its feature to connect objects with similar histories from across the world," says Tasneem Mehta, honorary director and managing trustee of the museum. The online exhibits offered by the museum comprise stories based on their permanent collections including rare books on Indian textiles and clothing from the 19th to early 20th century such as Women of India and Peoples of Bombay by O Rothfeld, illustrated by Rao Bahadur MV Dhurandhar. Mehta adds, "Given the fact that museums across the world have shut their doors in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, it is important that they continue to function online to stay relevant to audiences of all ages. The increase in the BDL Museum's online traffic has proven that people are turning to art for solace and inspiration."

Finding Frida

Finding Frida

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo wrote and drew in her diary. The book by Museo Dolores Olmedo offers a chronological look at her personal and artistic life ­— from the way she defined colours and her experience of polio to her love for Diego Rivera and her pets. Here, you can spot her well-known quote, "Feet, what do I need you for, if I have wings to fly?"

Global relations

Art works from CSMVS on the website. Pics/Google Arts &
Art works from CSMVS on the website. Pics/Google Arts &

According to Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), the most important features of GAC are "an extraordinary editorial team for content development and its outstanding presentation style." On the website, you get to explore a special presentation of the landmark exhibition, India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, that was a collaboration between CSMVS, the British Museum in London and Delhi's National Museum, with detailed notes on each object. Mukherjee hopes that the platform is used more extensively as a means for creating art awareness and art therapy.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee
Sabyasachi Mukherjee

The Polish connection in India

The Balachadi settlement's orchestra (1942-1946)
The Balachadi settlement's orchestra (1942-1946)

Polish History Museum's exhibition, Passage to India depicts the formation of a special union during World War 2. After the Polish were deported deep into the erstwhile USSR, over 40,000 people were evacuated to Iran. Out of this 6,000 took refuge in India. See how they found a home in Gujarat's Balachadi and Valivade, near Kolhapur.

A 360-degree view of Van Gogh

A 360-degree view of Van Gogh

Step into one of the world's most-visited museums that houses the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh's works on your screen. The website enables you to view the space floor-wise and you can zoom into his works, too. There's a caption for each piece that you pass by, too. Also check out an online exhibit titled Which books did Vincent van Gogh read? that adds more insight into his life.

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First Published: 24 March, 2020 09:34 IST

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