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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Google Arts & Culture Announced Initiative to Digitize Puerto Rican Artwork For the First Time

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Google Arts & Culture Announced Initiative to Digitize Puerto Rican Artwork For the First Time

In a new initiative, Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda Jr. and a network of museums in Puerto Rico to bring the island's artworks together online for the first time.

Over 350 artworks will come online today, with dozens captured in ultra-high resolution by Google Arts & Culture's Art Camera, allowing everyone to explore the images down to brush stroke level. This number will grow in the months to come.

The project will include the digitization of work from new partners to Google Arts & Culture, including Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, and Museo de Arte de Ponce. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, a partner since 2014, will contribute more artwork to the project.

"My family and I have visited the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and all of the museum partners, and fell in love with the trove of art available from San Juan to Ponce and everywhere across the island," said Lin-Manuel Miranda. "Through this project, we hope that the world will get a glimpse of the art treasures of Puerto Rico - and then come visit them in person!"

"Google Arts & Culture aims to be an innovation partner to the cultural sector of Puerto Rico, and democratize access to art, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere," said Simon Delacroix, US Lead for Google Arts & Culture. "Working with the Mirandas and our Puerto Rican partners, this project contributes to that mission, as we take a first step towards sharing these artistic treasures with the world. We hope people feel inspired to learn more about Puerto Rico's culture."

Today marks the first phase of the digitization of a selection of pieces that date back centuries, from a veritable trove of over 40,000 artifacts of great historical and cultural value. In the case of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, the state arts agency responsible for establishing arts and cultural policy with statewide impact, the organization currently lacks permanent display space for most of its artwork. Therefore the Art Camera digitization shines a light on artwork not ordinarily on view to the public, bringing these priceless works of Puerto Rican heritage out from behind closed doors.

"To be the custodian of the most important collection of Puerto Rican art is a great undertaking. But to be able to showcase it to the world, is an accomplishment," said Professor Carlos R. Ruiz Cortés, Executive Director of the ICP. "That is why this partnership with Google Arts means so much to us."

Highlights of the project include The Daughters of Governor Ramón de Castro (1797), one of the best-known works by José Campeche y Jordán, a self-taught artist and one of the greatest 19th century Latin American Painters, and The Judge (1970), a vibrant collograph print by Myrna Báez, one of the most important Puerto Rican painters and printmakers. Over the coming months, Google Arts & Culture will continue to work with Puerto Rico's museums to make culture and history available for anyone, anywhere to see, enabling people to connect with iconic works of art and learn and be inspired by their history.

Some of this artwork will be viewable in extreme detail thanks to Google Arts & Culture's Art Camera, which is on the island for the first time, in order to capture and preserve artwork at a granular level, illuminating brush strokes and other details not visible to the naked eye. Thanks to Art Camera, you can now zoom in on 48 artworks, including Goyita (1953), an oil painting by Rafael Tufiño Figueroa that features none other than the artist's own mother as a model, breaking with the conventions of portraiture at the time to create a dignified depiction of a working class woman.

Learn more about iconic works like Escena de la Guerra Hispanoamericana (1898) and El Pan Nuestro (1905) through interactive experiences that guide the viewer through a piece of art by zooming in and out of its details with insightful commentary. In José Campeche y Jordán's painting El Gobernador Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz (1789-1792), the viewer can look beyond the work's subject - the governor - and into the streets of San Juan.

Puerto Rico's resilient and powerful rebirth in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 has focused new and unprecedented attention on the island. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture and the outstanding group of collaborating institutions and partners, as well as the unconditional support of Flamboyan Arts Fund, Puerto Rico's artistic and cultural expressions will be introduced to new audiences around the world, preserving history and culture through a modern lens.

This collection is available online through Google Arts & Culture for everyone across the world. You can find it at g.co/puertoricanculture. You can learn more from the Executive Director of the Instituto de Cultura PuertorriquenÞa in this blogpost.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos


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