Meet Vermeer Online – where would Modern Museum go?

Digital reproduction from Mauritshuis (Netherlands)

Yesterday was the day  – Google launched its first virtual museum in its Arts and Culture section that gathered all the well-known paintings from Vermeer. If you are not familiar with the name, I guess ‘ Girl with a Pearl Earring‘ might ring a bell. Scattered in multiple museums around the world, those paintings might never be able to unite in one hall physically, making the tour to all Vermeer’s work in exhibition not that easy. Google used its Art Camera to take high-resolution pictures of them, arranged them as if they are exhibited in a gallery, and now you can click the button and appreciate the beauty of those masterpieces altogether. For a better experience, put your VR glasses on and it is 3D!

I have lost myself in lots of museums around the world – the Met, the British Museum, the Louvre, to name the largest ones. It is usually a mesmerizing experience when I am surrounded by ancient artefacts, natural wonders, the things you know by heart but have never seen in person. A conservative me insists that only the real object would demonstrate to you its ultimate delicacy when standing in front of it, and you can really worship its amazing shape and texture, lighting and shadows. A millennial me knows that many museums have online archives, in which you can find ultra high-resolution pictures, without the pain to squeeze through the crowd just for peeping The Mona Lisa or Rosetta Stone.

We have built our own empire online, digitizing strokes and carvings into millions of pixels. Modern museums have started their new, immortal lives on the Internet, and you don’t need to spend lots of money to visit their physical forms. However, I still think the existence of their physical forms is indispensable. I sometimes won’t feel the resonance until I’m there. Another advantage of virtual museum is that you don’t need to take pictures if you really love the piece – you can show friends and family a well-taken, high-resolution picture from online resources, and take more time to admire the object itself when you go there, feeling the joy like you are on a pilgrimage.

The world is changing everyday, the lesson I learned from this is that career opportunities are hidden everywhere, and we just need to brave enough to think, and to equip ourselves in order to make our dream come true, and to have a life-long career with what we love. We respect the tradition, but we are also eager to find new world.

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