Good news for art lovers! The Google Art Project now has the National Museum of Art (Delhi) and the National Gallery of Modern Art (Mumbai) up on their website so you can browse through their collections online. The site is really well done. Google Street View is enabled for the museums, so you can take a virtual stroll through their galleries. It’s not the same as going there, of course, but hopefully it will inspire a visit.
As an art lover and collector myself, I have to say, however, that as delightful and inspiring this is, there is no substitute for experiencing original works of art. The original has the consciousness of the artist in it, which is something no replica or digital image ever has. I’m sure there are many of you who will take exception to the way I’ve expressed this, but anyone who has ever been moved by a work of art will understand to some extent what I am saying. There is a lively quality that even the most perfect reproduction will never have.
Since I deeply appreciate the value of seeing the works in person, the site is most useful for planning future visits. I don’t always want to go through a whole museum, especially if there is a specific collection that I’m interested in. While there is certainly some joy in just seeing the images online, and much can be learned from them, it will never be the same. But since I’ll never visit most of the galleries they have up, that’s a great boon.
For a person getting an education in the field of fine art, archeology or related fields, this is a great resource. Some images are really hi-res ones that you can zoom in on, which is a great feature for students in the process of learning by copying the works of masters.
So far the Project only has the two galleries from India among many, many others from various countries, but that will probably change soon.