Hot on the heels of Birmingham Museum's high definition digitization of its Pre-Raphaelite collection, London's National Gallery has gone one better with a digitization project creating a full-screen zoom facility of its entire collection.
The re-launched National Gallery online is the first major gallery website to offer the facility, which allows users to examine every National Gallery masterpiece in outstanding detail and effortlessly sweep across digital canvases and zoom into minute details of their choosing.
Visitors to the site can also check the up-to-date locations of their favourite works of art prior to visiting and explore the paintings room-by-room, using a constantly updated interactive floor plan which is designed to let them "follow the narrative of the hang", as well as access new research material for specific works of art.
"The National Gallery's new website raises the bar for cultural websites," said Charlotte Sexton, Head of New Media at the Gallery. "It offers exceptional access to this world-class collection of Western European paintings and to our expert knowledge about them."
A dedicated research section, updated with new findings, catalogue entries and detailed information about the care of the collection, also highlights the Gallery's pioneering research into old master paintings.
The site, which contains more than 12,000 images, 18 hours of audio and at least 200 videos, has been optimised for the casual browser and search engine visitor. Those less familiar with the collections can peruse a set of thirty "must-see" paintings or use a random search facility. A new interactive calendar enables visitors to see details of upcoming talks, courses and workshops.
The latest developments come a month after the National Gallery launched a new application, Love Art, which allows iPhone and iTouch users to zoom in and explore 250 of the Gallery's best-loved paintings in the palm of their hand.
Visit the Gallery online for more details.