Google, what’s my masterpiece? Round one: Gustav Klimt

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If you spend any time on the internet at all, you’ve probably noticed the swanky new features Google has been adding to their searches.

One of the coolest new features is the little drop-down artwork list that pops up whenever you search an artist’s name plus the word “artwork.” Google automatically arranges the pieces showcased here by search popularity, thus inspiring this new series, “Google, what’s my masterpiece?”

Screen shot from my iPad:)

I think it’s so fascinating that the entire portfolio of an artist’s life and work can be stripped down to six pieces and a little blurb, and although some might consider this trivializing, I think it’s a great way to appeal to those outside the typical art community. It shows the basics in a really useful way, at the same time ranking the artist’s works by how many people know about them enough to search for them; how many people want to learn more.

Clicking on each work takes you to a Google search of that painting individually, including the right-hand breakdown of the work which gives you a background summary, year it was completed, artist’s name, dimensions of  the work, genre, media, and artistic period during which it was made.

The Kiss, 1908

This week I’m starting with Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter who used a collage-like sometimes called “symbolism” style to create lofty dream-scenes that are too beautiful to be real. Obviously his incredibly famous work “The Kiss” was the very first work listed on Google, although it was probably given a big boost the day Google chose to showcase this work in their logo as a way of honoring Klimt’s 150th birthday this past July.

Coming in second is Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, created in 1907. Klimt also made a second portrait of this woman that’s listed fourth on Google. Adele was the wife of a wealthy industrialist, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, who was a patron of the arts and a supporter of Gustav Klimt.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907
Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912

Can you imagine what the artists would think if they knew we were arranging their works based on how SEO-friendly they’ve become? What do you think about the way technology is simplifying our art intake?

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