Google Arts & Culture is the company’s initiative to share and make famous works widely available online through high-resolution scans and other fun features. Most recently, Art Selfies allowed users to see what artwork they look like. The latest features augmented reality to bring together the work of Johannes Vermeer.

In his lifetime, the Dutch master only painted 36 works that are currently “scattered across 17 collections in seven countries.” As Google notes, art lovers have “never had the opportunity to see all of Vermeer’s works in one place. And since some of his works are now too fragile to travel, they’ll have to remain where they are indefinitely.”

Today, Vermeer resonates in pop culture references around the world. Justin Richburg—who recently created the character designs for Childish Gambino’s music video “Feels like Summer”—conceived an original piece of art that bridges time and cultures: “Icons” reimagines Vermeer in the 21st century, and shows how the subjects of his paintings have become icons themselves.

Google Arts & Culture is leveraging augmented reality for a new Pocket Gallery feature. Opening the app and camera will display a virtual seven-room exhibition space that you can tap to enter with the ability to drag, pinch, and resize to move around.

The Art Camera — our ultra-high resolution robotic camera made specifically for artworks—was deployed to several galleries around the world, creating the highest-ever resolution image of eight of Vermeer’s masterpieces for your zooming pleasure.

Curated by the Mauritshuis, each work has “in painting tours,” other guided insights, and “expert stories” that explore Vermeer’s legacy and life.

You can also dive into “in painting tours” of each Vermeer’s 36 works and enjoy the guided insights into artworks like Girl with a Flute. In addition to Vermeer’s paintings, you’ll be able to explore several expert stories that shed light on Vermeer’s art, legacy or mysterious life—for instance, you can hear from Tracy Chevalier, author of the bestseller “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Google Arts & Culture has often used new technologies to showcase artwork, with early Cardboard VR support and an art recognizer. The app is available on Android and iOS.

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Abner Li

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