Unless you handle priceless masterpieces for a living or are in the habit of visiting art museums with a magnifying glass in your back pocket, there are details in paintings that you have never seen. Getting that close to the art can have unfortunate consequences, but thanks to Google, there is a better, safer way. The Verge reports that the Google Cultural Institute has recently shared 1000 high resolution photos taken with its newly developed Art Camera, a robotic device capable of scanning and digitizing paintings to create images comprised of over 1 billion pixels.

In its first five years, the Cultural Institute was able to scan and digitize 200 images. The Art Camera has made the process more efficient, and another 1000 photos have been scanned in just the past few months. Controlled by a robotic system, the camera moves around the painting while taking thousands of photos, using a laser and sonar technology to make sure that the art is always in focus. The software combines the shots into one massive image, which is then uploaded to the Google Cultural Institute website where anyone with internet access can explore it for free.

There are 20 Art Cameras currently being sent to museums around the world, according to The Verge, which means that the online gallery will continue to grow in the near future. There are already gigapixel images of works by Monet, Cézanne, O'Keeffe, and many others that you should find time to explore today. Get lost in the brushstrokes and find what may potentially be your new favorite painting of all time.

[h/t The Verge]

Image via Google Cultural Institute on YouTube