Google has published a bunch of statistics on its online art gallery Google Art, which is a collaboration between Google and 200 art collections worldwide.
Let’s start with some numbers. The most popular paintings in its collection are:
- Van Gogh: The Starry Night
- Botticelli: The Birth of Venus
- Rembrandt: Self Portrait Drawing at a Window
- Van Gogh: The Bedroom
- Manet: In the Conservatory
- Bruegel (the Elder): The Harvesters
- Van Gogh: Sunflowers
- Holbein (the Younger): The Ambassadors
- Van Gogh: Field with Flowers near Arles
- Böcklin: The Isle of the Dead
In fact, Dutch painters make up 50% of that list (60% if you include Pieter Bruegel the Elder who lived in the Habsburg Netherlands before circumstances split the country into Spanish Netherlands, later Belgium, and the Dutch Republic).
While nothing beats seeing a painting in real life, the ability to examine a work of art in this level of detail seems to be encouraging viewers to linger. One minute is the average time spent looking at any given painting on the Art Project website, compared to under 20 seconds (according to several studies) in a museum.
The Starry Night is also the most frequently included painting in user galleries, where individuals create and share their own virtual art collections.