Take a Long Virtual Tour of the Louvre in Three High-Definition Videos

So, you’ve had to put off a trip to Paris, and a long-await­ed vis­it to the Lou­vre, which “will remain closed until fur­ther notice,” has been pushed into the indef­i­nite hori­zon. It could be worse, but the loss of engag­ing up close with cul­tur­al trea­sures is some­thing we should all grieve in lock­down. Art is so impor­tant to human well-being that UK Sec­re­tary of Health Matt Han­cock argued all doc­tors in the NHS should pre­scribe gallery vis­its and oth­er art activ­i­ties for every­thing from men­tal issues to lung dis­eases.

As you know from plan­ning your trip (ide­al­ly sev­er­al trips) to the famous museum—first opened to the pub­lic in 1793 on the first anniver­sary of Louis XVI’s imprisonment—you can lux­u­ri­ate in art for days on end once there, pro­vid­ed you can evade the mas­sive crowds.

The Lou­vre is immense, with 60,500 square meters of floor space and around 35,000 paint­ings, sculp­tures, and oth­er arti­facts. But with rough­ly 10 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year, who make it the world’s most vis­it­ed muse­um, it isn’t easy to find space for con­tem­pla­tion.

Video vis­its are no sub­sti­tute, but these days they’re the best we’ve got. If you’re eager to see what you’re missing—or what you could nev­er get to in per­son even with­out a pandemic—take a look at the 4K vir­tu­al tours here from Wan­der­lust Trav­el Videos. Yes, you’ll see the hero­ic mas­ter­works of Jacques-Louis David, Eugene Delacroix, and Théodore Géri­cault. You’ll see the famous glass pyra­mid, the trea­sures of Napoleon’s Apart­ments, and, yes, the Mona Lisa.

But you’ll also see hun­dreds and hun­dreds of works that don’t get the same kind of press, each one named in a time­stamped list on the YouTube pages. The expe­ri­ence is admit­ted­ly like vis­it­ing the muse­um in per­son, rush­ing through each gallery, peer­ing over and around the backs of heads to get a glimpse of the Fra Fil­ip­po Lip­pis, Cimabues, and Man­teg­nas. But you can mute the con­stant back­ground chat­ter and pause and rewind as much as you like.

After tour­ing a good bit of the muse­um, stroll around the Car­rousel Arc de Tri­om­phe, Jardin de l’infante, and the Pont Neuf, above. Judg­ing by the com­ments, these videos are prov­ing a balm to the psy­ches of home­bound art lovers around the world, whether they’ve been to the Lou­vre before, just scrapped their trav­el plans, or know they’ll prob­a­bly nev­er get the chance to vis­it.

The vir­tu­al oppor­tu­ni­ty to tour this mag­nif­i­cent col­lec­tion, or part of it, may refresh our exhaust­ed imag­i­na­tions. It may also soothe the part of us that real­ly miss­es huge crowds of peo­ple all talk­ing at once. Some­thing about the expe­ri­ence, even on the screen, feels so strange­ly com­pelling right now you might find your­self hop­ing if and when you final­ly get to the Lou­vre, it’s sim­ply mobbed.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mona Lisa Self­ie: A Mon­tage of Social Media Pho­tos Tak­en at the Lou­vre and Put on Insta­gram

Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of 30 World-Class Muse­ums & Safe­ly Vis­it 2 Mil­lion Works of Fine Art

Vis­it The Muse­um of Online Muse­ums (MoOM): A Mega Col­lec­tion of 220 Online Exhi­bi­tions

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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