New Delhi: The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) has officially moved to a new parallel address in cyberspace from where visitors can walk through its new-age portals and check out the permanent exhibits in a virtual tour powered by search engine Google.
The popular search engine has also uploaded a separate slice of NGMA's archive of 94 art works by 71 artists under its ongoing Google Art Project. The project unveiled its tie-ups with capital-based NGMA and the National Museum Tuesday as part of its partnership with the ministry of culture.
Altogether, 250 art works have been loaded from NGMA and National Museum, spanning more than 150 years of Indian art from 1850.
Each period of Indian art has been represented by at least two exhibits, along with the detailed NGMA tour which allows the visitor to zoom into every work of art - shot in high resolution - to study it in minute detail.
The tour also throws the architecture of the archive into focus.
The partnership with the culture ministry brings India on board the international project with 151 partners from 41 countries nearly a year after the project began in early 2011 with 17 countries to create an international data base of art for viewing.
Globally, 30,000 high resolution art objects are available for surfing and Street View (technology) images cover 46 museums. Each art work is accompanied by provenance and history of the work and the artist.
Officially inaugurating the initiative, Minister of Culture Selja said: "Art was becoming inaccessible lately because a substantial body of art was locked in private collections and a vast majority is kept away from collectors."
"Fortunately, technology has come to our aid and information related to it with ease and little expenditure. The ministry is patterning with Google to get Indian art online. The National Museum and NGMA are among the international museums and integral part of the project," Selja said.
"The National Museum has more than 200,000 exhibits. The National Gallery of modern and contemporary art. The 100 images from NGMA on Google Art Project is a small number. We need at 10,000 images each (from the institutions) and we have to move fast," Selja said.
The minister said "digitisation of manuscripts and art was top priority of the culture ministry."
"We have uploaded one crore manuscript on the National Manuscript Mission site. The National Gallery of Modern Art has digitised 6,000 images," Selja said.
Anil Sood, head of the Google Art Project, said "The new expanded project demonstrates the company's commitment to all types of art. The Art Project is not just about the Indian student wanting to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American student wanting to visit the National Gallery of Modern art in India."
Sood said "his team camped in at the two institutions for nearly six months with a makeshift system to shoot the art works and collect data."
"It will draw more people, who want to see it, to the museum. The main objectivity of NGMA is to create sensitivity, awareness and understanding among national and international audiences towards Indian art expression. The Google Art Project uses sophisticated technology to take this endeavour available to users globally," director of NGMA Rajiv Lochan said.
Architect of NGMA, A.R. Ramanathan, who designed the new wing of the NGMA said it "was the first gallery in India to take advantage of the project".
"We want Google to dedicate a separate section to the gallery's exterior, which has a large number of solid exhibits (sculptures)," Ramanathan said.