People sometimes say that "art is the food for the soul". And times like this can really show us how much we need art in our lives.
Thankfully, there are some amazing options available to provide free of charge access to all kinds of content, including virtual tours through some of the world's most famous museums!
So, what’s a virtual tour exactly?
A virtual tour will allow you to explore different collections or specific works of art in a variety of ways! Some museums offer presentations with the history behind a collection or the artist who created it. Others use technology to deliver a completely new and immersive experience to users, such as the possibility to zoom into a painting and analyze the smallest of its details, or the chance to dive into 360 videos that can make you feel like you're inside a piece of art.
What museums can you tour?
From Europe, Russia to North America, we’ve selected 8 Museum Virtual Tours that can help satisfy your art thirst and, perhaps, your Trivia skills ;)
Louvre - Paris
You've probably seen more selfies than you can count taken in front of the Louvre or, even more so, in near the painting of the Monalisa. But did you know that the Louvre was originally built as a fortress in 1190 to protect Paris from attacks via the Seine? Over the years, the structure was rebuilt several times until it became the iconic space we know today, and if you are curious about the museum's transformations, go ahead and explore the Medieval Louvre to learn more about its history. Other virtual tours available include the collection of Egyptian artiques and the Apollo Gallery.
Uffizi Gallery - Florence
Sometimes, a painting can have so many elements and details that you wish you had all the time in the world to analyze every single one of them (but instead you have only a few hours to explore an entire museum!). The Uffizi Gallery understands the pain and has created virtual tours that focus on explaining the story behind paintings such as Perseus Freeing Andromeda, by Piero de Cosimo.
Prado Museum - Madrid
The beautiful Prado Museum recently celebrated its 200th anniversary and is one of the most visited sites on the planet! The Prado is known for having some of the world's most prestigious masterpieces, such as Velázquez '"Las Meninas" and Fra Angelico's "La Anunciación". Almost the entire museum collection, including these two, can be found online.
British Museum - London
The British Museum is home to approximately 8 million items, ranging from artefacts from the early existence of mankind to contemporary artists. As it’s time for all of us to stay at home, perhaps it is the perfect opportunity to visit Africa or Mexico through the museum's online collection.
Vatican Museum - Rome
Going through a museum as big as the Vatican can be overwhelming. There are 26 galleries inside of the complex and not enough hours in one day to see everything without rushing. If you feel like you missed something last time you were there or you want to prepare for your visit to the museum as soon as quarantine is over, don't fail to check the 360 virtual tours available for 7 of their galleries.
National Gallery of Art - Washington
If you are proud to call yourself an art nerd, you definitely can't miss out on the audio and video lectures available on the National Gallery of Art's website. The amount of content is outstanding and includes a wide variety of themes about the universe of the visual arts. Besides their online collection, the website also offers digital education resources that can be a life saver for those parents who have run out of ideas on how to entertain their children while they are trying to work from home.
Pinacoteca di Brera - Milan
Unlike most Museums in Italy, the Brera Gallery was not created to host the personal collection of a prince or a nobleman. The building was initially an Academy of Fine Arts, and was later turned into a museum by Napoleon to exhibit the most significant paintings from all the territories conquered by the French armies. The online collection is mostly composed of sacred paintings, a signature mark of the gallery.
Hermitage - San Pietersburg
Although not so widely known, the Hermitage Museum not only hosts over 3 million works of arts and artefacts, but it also has one of the most immersive and interactive virtual tours of all times! By clicking on the map, you can choose which part of the museum you would like to visit and once you start you can click on any image or artefacts to read more information about them. The virtual tour can also take you to explore the area outside of the museum, which is not a bad thing to do if you miss seeing some nature.
Google's Art & Culture
If you are still uncertain about what you are looking for in terms of Museums, we recommend that you take a look at Google's Art & Culture platform. Their online catalog features the world's most popular museums, and you can check out all the museums taking part or choose which place you want to visit by looking at their map.
Once “there”, you can take a deeper look into some of the most famous paintings in history, such as The Girl With a Pearl Earring. This is probably the closest you will ever get to one of Monet's or Rembrandt's pieces, you can zoom right in from the comfort of your couch without tripping over tourists or the velvet rope.
One tool even lets you explore them with 360 ° video on your phone or tablet, so you can see all of the details of a piece from every possible angle you can imagine! We tried it out and the experience really does make you feel closer to the art and inside the space itself, while also giving all the information about that creation. The archive also includes sections on natural history and the universe!