Prado Museum, Google Earth Partner Up

BY Arts Desk  January 13, 2009 at 4:21 PM EDT

To get a real close look at some of the best paintings housed in Spain’s Prado Museum, you no longer have to trek to Madrid. Internet giant Google and one of the world’s most famous galleries announced Tuesday they have teamed up to allow people to explore 14 of the Prado’s prized paintings using the search engine’s mapping technology, Google Earth.

“[I]t is possible to enjoy these magnificent works in a way never previously possible, obtaining details impossible to appreciate through first hand observation,” said Prado director Miguel Zugaza.

They assembled 8,200 photographs to allow users to zoom in and pinpoint even tiny brush strokes. For complicated works, like Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” you can get much closer than a normal museum visit would permit. Among the works on view are Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Three Graces,” Diego Velazquez’s “Las Meninas,” Francisco de Goya’s “Third of May,” and paintings by Titian, El Greco and Rembrandt.

Google paid for the project and indicated it has no plans yet to expand the program to other museums. To access the images you first need to download Google Earth, which is free, and then search for “Prado Museum Madrid.”