Google’s new Internet service, Art Project, enables users to take a virtual tour of 17 international museums and also offers high-definition images of more than 1,000 works of art. Fears that virtuality could replace the experience of direct contact with art and lead to empty museums are – the Corriere del Ticino (Switzerland, March 16) believes – unfounded:
“No high-tech access to art can replace the experience of entering a museum, the satisfaction of moving around in rooms surrounded by masterpieces, the full range of emotions that a work of art can arouse. We may be able to observe every brush stroke on the computer screen, every crack in the paint of a masterpiece, but this can never compare to the experience of actual physical proximity….
“It is not the glory of detail that fascinates us but the vision of the whole which the artist conveys; the transfer of his world view, his thoughts, his emotions onto the canvas. As a result of some mysterious alchemy, only direct contact with a work of art can lead to true aesthetic enjoyment.”