The quiet hush and cool air of the galleries. The delight when an intriguing work catches your eye. The surprising details that come alive as you lean in to look closely at a painting. There’s no experience quite like wandering through a museum.
While the pandemic limits in-person strolls through museums, the Google Arts & Culture app invites art lovers to explore a gallery of paintings from Getty’s collection, without leaving home.
The Getty Museum is partnering with Google Arts & Culture to launch a new exhibition in Pocket Gallery, an immersive exhibition feature within the Google Arts & Culture app that uses augmented reality to open up a life-size virtual space that you can literally step inside using your smartphone. In Pocket Gallery, you can select from a list of virtual exhibitions to immerse yourself in. Wander through virtual rooms with paintings displayed on the walls by physically moving your phone, or by using your finger to navigate on your phone screen. Get up close or zoom in to see the paintings in greater detail and learn more about each artwork.
Getty’s exhibition is called Better Together: Join the Crowd in Celebrated European Paintings, and is inspired by the social gatherings so many of us are missing during the pandemic. The exhibition features four virtual rooms to explore, and each room displays about seven to ten paintings around a theme: City Life, Music and Merriment, A Breath of Fresh Air, and Around the Table.
The Music and Merriment room features scenes of parties, gatherings, and entertainment, like Gerrit van Honthorst’s Musical Group on a Balcony (pictured below) and Dance before a Fountain by Nicolas Lancret. In A Breath of Fresh Air, enjoy nature through the eyes of Francesco Zuccarelli in Landscape with the Education of Bacchus, for example, or Adriaen van de Venne in Merry Company in an Arbor, among others.
In the City Life room, you can explore paintings that depict scenes from European streets, such as a lively festival filled with revelers on canoes in Regatta on the Grand Canal in Honor of Frederick IV, King of Denmark, by Luca Carlevarijs.
In the Around the Table room, food and domestic life take center stage. Examine an abundantly stocked pantry overflowing with fruit and game in Kitchen Still Life with a Maid and Young Boy by Frans Snyders, or an artist instructing two young pupils in Jan Steen’s The Drawing Lesson. The gallery can be found in the Camera Tab of the Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS.
Ready to transform your space into a Getty gallery?
Follow these steps to launch Getty’s Pocket Gallery:
- Download Google Arts & Culture for iOS or Android and open the app.
- Tap the camera icon at the bottom of your screen (make sure to allow the app to access your camera).
- Tap Pocket Gallery.
- Follow the instructions on the app—you will be asked to move your phone around so it can scan a flat surface around you such as a floor or coffee table.
- Tap on the J. Paul Getty Museum gallery to download the exhibition, then drag it into the space in front of you. You’ll see the gallery projected into your space!
- Manually move your phone to navigate around the gallery and into different rooms, or use your finger to scroll around and get closer to the paintings.
- When you move close to a painting, information about the work’s context and creator will appear in a white tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap the tab to bring up the full information page.
Happy browsing! Google Arts & Culture features even more ways to explore Getty’s collections from home. Discover how to turn your photos into works of art, how to virtually display art, and online exhibitions featuring subjects like pastel portraits of the 18th century and food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.