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Two masterpieces from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden to experience in gigapixel resolution online now at the Google Cultural Institute

Two masterpieces from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) can now be experienced online as high-resolution gigapixel images. One of the most famous paintings in the history of art, Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” (1512/13), and a key work of 20th-century German realist painting, “The War” by Otto Dix (1929/32), can be accessed online by visitors to the Google Cultural Institute website at The SKD’s wide range of digital communication thereby gains another exciting format.

Showing the works in a resolution of billions of pixels means that both art lovers and researchers can use the zoom function to explore the images in greater detail than is possible with the naked eye. This is particularly true in the case of the Raphael painting – a world-famous picture which at first sight appears to be a simple composition and only reveals its wealth of painterly qualities on closer examination. In the gigapixel image, certain brushstrokes, freely applied in impasto technique, become clearly visible, while in the heavens, the features of the myriad of delicate heads populating this picture plane can now be seen in close-up. This enhanced view also allows the individual feathers on the wings of the famous pair of cherubs at the lower edge of the picture to be distinguished.

Gigapixel images are a special feature of the Google Art Project (GAP) established by the Google Cultural Institute. Since 2011, GAP has provided a cross-collection and cross-border platform for distribution of knowledge on works of art, artists and exhibiting institutions. Thus, as well as the ability to search for and view works of art, users also have the opportunity to access additional accompanying information, visit digital exhibitions and compile their own virtual gallery. Currently, over 470 institutions in more than 60 countries are represented on GAP by a total of around 80,000 artworks, with more than 120 of these available in the exclusive gigapixel resolution.

Since 2012, the SKD has presented around 300 selected works on GAP. The diversity of the collections is demonstrated by precious objects from the Grünes Gewölbe, delicate porcelain, antique sculptures, scientific instruments from the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon and valuable ethnographic items from the museums of ethnology in Dresden, Leipzig and Herrnhut. Further details and links to the SKD Online Collection act as an invitation to engage in greater depth with the artworks. It is there, where artworks not on public display can also be discovered, that the full bandwidth of the SKD’s 14 museums is finally revealed to the visitor.

As Hartwig Fischer, Director General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, emphasises, “Digital projects are an essential component of our communications and education work. Bearing in mind the ever-increasing significance of the new media, we make active use of the digital possibilities available to us. Today, we are delighted to benefit from the opportunity to give the viewer deeper insight into two masterpieces of Renaissance and Modernist art, in a way that has until now only been possible for art restorers in their studios.”

Download the press release as PDF-document.


Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Press and Communication
Residenzschloss, Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden
Telefon: + 49 (0)351-4914-2643

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