There has been plenty of publicity about the eye-wateringly beautiful digital images produced by Madrid’s Prado museum in association with Google Earth.
Detail from Rubens’ The Three Graces, Prado Museum, Madrid. Taken from Google Earth.
Contrary to what some art critics have written, this is, in some ways, a more powerful experience than seeing the original, where glass, ropes and bollards block such an intense close-up experience.
However, like Google’s project to recreate classical Rome, such resources are great for the general public they are not quite good enough for a university audience.
A researcher or lecturer certainly wants high-quality images, but they also want
- the ability to easily download and manipulate the image
- related tools that can comapre and contrast images
- a stable URL to cite the digital address of the image
- good quality information about the painting (i.e. catalogue / metadata stuff)
- to be able to search all paintings in the Prado (in fact the whole world) – not just the highlights!
- clear copyright terms and conditions about using.
Do that for us Google and we will be very happy.