Take Immersive Virtual Tours of the World’s Great Museums: The Louvre, Hermitage, Van Gogh Museum & Much More

Can you remem­ber when you last vis­it­ed a muse­um? Even if you did­n’t much care for them before the time of the coro­n­avirus, you’re prob­a­bly begin­ning to miss them right about now. At least the inter­net tech­nol­o­gy that has kept our com­mu­ni­ca­tion open and our enter­tain­ment flow­ing — and, regret­tably for some, kept our work meet­ings reg­u­lar — has also made it pos­si­ble to expe­ri­ence art insti­tu­tions through our screens. Here on Open Cul­ture we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured many such online art spaces, dig­i­tal gallery expe­ri­ences, and vir­tu­al muse­um tours, and today we’ve round­ed up some of the best for you.

Most every­one who had a trip to France sched­uled for this spring or sum­mer will have can­celed it. But thanks to these three high-def­i­n­i­tion, first-per­son videos, you can still tour the Lou­vre, Lib­er­ty Lead­ing the Peo­ple, the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, and even I.M. Pei’s rooftop pyra­mid and all. Per­haps you’d planned to spend part of 2020 trav­el­ing Europe more wide­ly, in which case you’d almost cer­tain­ly have gone to Italy and seen Forence’s Uffizi Gallery as well. Luck­i­ly, that most famous col­lec­tion of Renais­sance art has gone dig­i­tal with a com­plete “street view” tour as well as an archive of 3D sculp­ture scans.

Of course, no art-ori­ent­ed trip to Italy would be well spent only in gal­leries and muse­ums: it would also have to include St. Peter’s Basil­i­ca, the Sis­tine Chapel, and oth­er sacred spaces of the Vat­i­can, in whose vir­tu­al ver­sions you can now spend as long as you like. And while some tourists in Europe face time or mon­ey con­straints too tight to allow vis­its to small­er coun­tries like the Nether­lands, inter­net trav­el is sub­ject to no such lim­i­ta­tions. So go ahead and take a sev­en-part tour of the Van Gogh Muse­um in 4K, or have a look at Rem­brandt’s The Night Watch down to every last brush­stroke.

You won’t find every Dutch mas­ter­piece in the Nether­lands. Take Hierony­mus Bosch’s The Gar­den of Ear­ly Delights, for instance, cur­rent­ly held by Spain’s Pra­do Muse­um, which has also made a vir­tu­al tour of the grotesque and spec­tac­u­lar paint­ing avail­able online. As for the work of Spain’s own artists, you can go even deep­er into the work of Sal­vador Dalí with this 360-degree vir­tu­al-real­i­ty video of his paint­ing Archae­o­log­i­cal Rem­i­nis­cence of Millet’s ‘Angelus.’  Those who’d like to spend some time off the con­ti­nent and back down on Earth can view an alto­geth­er dif­fer­ent 360-degree video, this one of Shake­peare’s Globe The­atre in Lon­don — and have a look at the trea­sures of the British Muse­um while they’re at it.

The ongo­ing pan­dem­ic hav­ing put a tem­po­rary stop to not just most trav­el to Europe but most inter­na­tion­al trav­el of any kind, hope­ful trav­el­ers to and with­in North Amer­i­ca have also been forced to change their plans. If this describes you, con­sid­er tak­ing a vir­tu­al tour of the Smith­son­ian Nation­al Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ryFrank Lloyd Wright’s stu­dio Tal­iesin, or the Fri­da Kahlo Muse­um in Mex­i­co City. But while you’re online, why not mount an even more ambi­tious world­wide art jour­ney: to the Her­mitage in Rus­sia, the Ghi­b­li Muse­um in Japan, and street art (as well as stolen art) from all over? It’s a big world of art out there — some­thing we can’t let our­selves for­get before we can see it in per­son again.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

The Stay At Home Muse­um: Your Pri­vate, Guid­ed Tours of Rubens, Bruegel & Oth­er Flem­ish Mas­ters

14 Paris Muse­ums Put 300,000 Works of Art Online: Down­load Clas­sics by Mon­et, Cézanne & More

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

Free: The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art and the Guggen­heim Offer 474 Free Art Books Online

Chi­nese Muse­ums, Closed by the Coro­n­avirus, Put Their Exhi­bi­tions Online

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.