A 3,000-Year-Old Painter’s Palette from Ancient Egypt, with Traces of the Original Colors Still In It

It’s a good bet your first box of crayons or watercolors was a simple affair of six or so colors… just like the palette belonging to Amenemopet, vizier to Pharaoh Amenhotep III (c.1391 – c.1354 BC), a pleasure-loving patron of the arts whose rule coincided with a period of great prosperity.

Amenemopet’s well-used artist’s palette, above, now resides in the Egyptian wing of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Over 3000 years old and carved from a single piece of ivory, the palette is marked “beloved of Re,” a royal reference to the sun god dear to both Amenhotep III and Akhenaton, his son and successor, whose worship of Re resembled monotheism.

As curator Catharine H. Roehrig notes in the Metropolitan’s publication, Life along the Nile: Three Egyptians of Ancient Thebes, the palette “contains the six basic colors of the Egyptian palette, plus two extras: reddish brown, a mixture of red ocher and carbon; and orange, a mixture of orpiment (yellow) and red ocher. The painter could also vary his colors by applying a thicker or thinner layer of paint or by adding white or black to achieve a lighter or darker shade.”

(Careful when mixing that orpiment into your red ocher, kids. It’s a form of arsenic.)

Other minerals that would have been ground and combined with a natural binding agent include gypsum, carbon, iron oxides, blue and green azurite and malachite.

The colors themselves would have had strong symbolism for Amenhotep and his people, and the artist would have made very deliberateregulated, evenchoices as to which pigment to load onto his palm fiber brush when decorating tombs, temples, public buildings, and pottery.

As Jenny Hill writes in Ancient Egypt Onlineiwn—colorcan also be translated as “disposition,” “character,” “complexion” or “nature.” She delves into the specifics of each of the six basic colors:

Wadj (green) also means “to flourish” or “to be healthy.” The hieroglyph represented the papyrus plant as well as the green stone malachite (wadj). The color green represented vegetation, new life and fertility. In an interesting parallel with modern terminology, actions which preserved the fertility of the land or promoted life were described as “green.”

Dshr (red) was a powerful color because of its association with blood, in particular the protective power of the blood of Isis…red could also represent anger, chaos and fire and was closely associated with Set, the unpredictable god of storms. Set had red hair, and people with red hair were thought to be connected to him. As a result, the Egyptians described a person in a fit of rage as having a “red heart” or as being “red upon” the thing that made them angry. A person was described as having “red eyes” if they were angry or violent. “To redden” was to die and “making red” was a euphemism for killing.

Irtyu (blue) was the color of the heavens and hence represented the universe. Many temples, sarcophagi and burial vaults have a deep blue roof speckled with tiny yellow stars. Blue is also the color of the Nile and the primeval waters of chaos (known as Nun).

Khenet (yellow) represented that which was eternal and indestructible, and was closely associated with gold (nebu or nebw) and the sun. Gold was thought to be the substance which formed the skin of the gods.

Hdj (white) represented purity and omnipotence. Many sacred animals (hippo, oxen and cows) were white. White clothing was worn during religious rituals and to “wear white sandals” was to be a priest…White was also seen as the opposite of red, because of the latter’s association with rage and chaos, and so the two were often paired to represent completeness.

Kem (black) represented death and the afterlife to the ancient Egyptians. Osiris was given the epithet “the black one” because he was the king of the netherworld, and both he and Anubis (the god of embalming) were portrayed with black faces. The Egyptians also associated black with fertility and resurrection because much of their agriculture was dependent on the rich dark silt deposited on the river banks by the Nile during the inundation. When used to represent resurrection, black and green were interchangeable.

via My Modern Met

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She most recently appeared as a French Canadian bear who travels to New York City in search of food and meaning in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Take a New Virtual Reality Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

You can go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, and in real life at that. This isn’t true of all the world’s great art institutions, still shut down as many are by measures in response to the past year’s coronavirus pandemic. But then, none of them have offered a digital visiting experience quite like The Met Unframed, recently launched in partnership with cellphone service provider Verizon. For a period of five weeks, anyone can join and freely roam a virtual reconstruction, or rather reimagining, of the Met and its galleries. There they’ll encounter paintings by Pollock, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, as well as work by current artists and majestic artifacts from antiquity.

“Upon entering the website, visitors are welcomed to the museum’s Great Hall with a view of Kent Monkman’s diptych mistikôsiwak: Wooden Boat People (2019),” writes Hyperallergic’s Hakim Bishara. “From there, banners offer broad thematic concepts — Power, Home, Nature, and Journey — through which visitors can explore the galleries.”

Embedded in certain pieces of art, you’ll find not just historical details and audio-tour explanations but mini-games, which “include trivia questions and riddles that encourage close observation of the artworks and labels. A game called ‘Analysis’ uses the Met’s infrared and X-ray conservation scans of paintings to reveal underdrawings and other hidden details of well-known paintings.”

Win enough such games, and you’ll get the chance to “borrow” the artwork you’ve clicked to display, through augmented reality, in your space of choice — for fifteen minutes, at least. At Artnet, critic Ben Davis writes of placing here and there around his apartment Frederic Edwin Church’s Heart of the Andes, Jacob Lawrence’s The Photographer, and a Baby Yoda-scaled version of Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait. He even makes a serious if ultimately frustrated effort to win digital borrowing rights to the ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur, one of the Met’s pièces de résistance since the late 1970s.

To experience The Met Unframed for yourself, just head over to its web site and use your phone to scan the QR code that comes up (if you’re not browsing on your phone in the first place). You’ll then be taken straight to the virtual Great Hall, which you can navigate by swiping in any direction — or physically moving your phone around, if you’ve enabled gyroscope mode — and tapping the icons glowing along the ground or on the walls. The combination of high technology, historical reference, depopulated but elegantly designed settings, puzzle challenges, and a score in which synthesizers meet ambient noise will remind visitors of a certain age of nothing so much as the adventure games of the early 1990s, especially Myst and its clones. But then, what does a museum do if not unite the past and the present?

via Hyperallergic

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletterBooks on Cities, 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.

Discover Tokyo’s Museum Dedicated to Parasites: A Unique and Disturbing Institution

Photo by Guilhem Vellut

Weary as we are of hearing about not just the coronavirus but viruses in general, shall we we turn our attention to parasites instead? The Meguro Parasitological Museum has been concentrating its intellectual and educational energies in that direction since 1953. Located in the eponymous neighborhood of Tokyo, it houses more than 60,000 species of parasite, with more than 300 on display at any given time. “On the first floor we present the ‘Diversity of Parasites’ displaying various types of parasite specimens with accompanying educational movies,” write directors Midori Kamegai and Kazuo Ogawa. “The second floor exhibits are ‘Human and Zoonotic Parasites’ showing parasite life cycles and the symptoms they cause during human infection.”

Photo by Guilhem Vellut

We’ve here included a few choice pictures from the museum, but as Culture Trip’s India Irving warns, “the real-life specimens are far worse than the photographs; some of the displays present preserved parasites actually popping out of their animal hosts.”

She names as “the most repulsive item on view” a tapeworm “roughly the size of a London bus — it is the longest tapeworm in world and is exhibited alongside a rope of the same length so visitors can get a physical feel for just how enormous it actually was.” What other parasitological museum could hope to compete with that? Not that any have tried: the Meguro Parasitological Museum proudly describes itself as the only such institution in the world.

Photo by Guilhem Vellut

“Some of the displays are merely disturbing, while others are slightly more ghastly,” writes Mental Floss’ Jake Rossen. “If you’ve ever wanted to see a photo of a tropical bug prompting a human testicle to swell to the size of a gym bag, this is the place for you.” Like many other museums, it did shut down for a time earlier in the pandemic, but has been open again since June. (If you happen not to be a Japanese speaker, guides in English and other languages are available in both text and app form.) If current conditions have nevertheless kept Japan itself out of your reach, you can have a look at the Meguro Parasitological Museum’s unique offerings through this Flickr gallery — which gets many of us as close to these organisms as we care to be.

Photo by Steven L. Johnson 

via Mental Floss

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

John Waters Gives Art Collection to The Baltimore Museum Of Art in Exchange for Getting Its Bathrooms Named After Him

It’s not unusual for an institution to recognize a major benefactor’s generosity by naming something in their honor – a wing, an atrium, a library, a gymnasium, a concert hall…

But bathrooms?

It’s a fitting tribute for the Pope of Trash, filmmaker John Waters.

So fitting that he himself suggested it when donating 372 prints, paintings, and photographs from his personal collection to the Baltimore Museum Of Art.

With Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, New York City’s New Museum of Contemporary Art and famed downtown performance venue Dixon Place all boasting restrooms that double as temples to philanthropy, Waters is not the first donor to be lionized in latrine form…

But he is surely the most famous, thanks to a career that spans six decades, includes numerous books and exhibitions of his photography and sculptures, in addition to his infamous cult films.

Waters got his start as an art collector at the age of 12: he spent $2 on a Joan Miró poster in the Baltimore Museum’s gift shop:

After taking it home and hanging it on my bedroom wall at my parents’ house, I realized from the hostile reaction of my neighborhood playmates that art could provoke, shock, and cause trouble. I became a collector for life. It’s only fitting that the fruits of my 60-year search for new art that could startle, antagonize, and infuriate even me, ends up where it all began—in my hometown museum.

Museum director Christopher Bedford calls Waters a “man of extraordinary refinement” as well as “a local treasure.”

Curator Asma Naeem adds that Waters’ donation, in addition to being one of the largest gifts of art in recent history, is also one of the “most personal and individualized, showing the true stamp of the donor’s taste, eye, and predilections.”

Among the 125 artists represented are Mike Kelley, Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein, Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and Waters himself. (The museum hosted a retrospective of his visual art two years ago.)

Waters is personally acquainted with many of the artists in his collection, and has a strong preference for early work. “They were never blue-chip artists,” he told The New York Times. “They became that later.”

In an interview with the CBC‘s Carol Off, Waters reflected that he loves art that inspires outrage:

…because I’m in on it. You finally learn to see differently if you like art. And it’s a secret club. It’s like a biker gang where you learn a special language, you have to dress a certain way. I love all the ridiculous elitism about the art world. I think it’s hilarious.

In addition to the two bathrooms in the East Lobby, a rotunda in the European art galleries will also bear Waters’ name.

The museum has pledged to never deaccession the works in the collection, and Waters speculates that it’s only a matter of time until a gender-neutral bathroom bearing his name will also be made available to patrons.

“I loved going [to the BMA],” he told Baltimore Fishbowl:

When I was a kid, that was a huge world that I was turned onto. Thank God my parents took me.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The Five Minute Museum: A Stop Motion Animation Shows the History of Civilization at Breakneck Speed

Experimental director and animator Paul Bush‘s 2015 short film The Five-Minute Museum, above, is the dizzying antidote to standing, footsore, in front of a vitrine crowded with Ancient Greek amphoras or exquisitely crafted pocket watches and wondering, not about history, culture or the nature of time, but whether you can justify spending $15 for an underwhelming cheese and tomato sandwich in the museum cafe.

It’s a breakneck stop motion journey through the history of civilization via six museum collections—three in London and three in Switzerland.

Presented primarily as stills that flash by at a rate of 24 per second, Bush groups like objects together, “thereby allowing the triumphs of human endeavor to be seen even in far corners of the land, by the bedridden, the infirm and the lazy.”

His sense of humor asserts itself the minute an assortment of ancient shards appear to render themselves into not just a state of wholeness, but an entire up close society in close-up. It doesn’t take long for these vessels’ clashing of warriors to give way to a composite portrait of idle youth, whose flirtations are stoked by a number of manic pipers in rapid succession, and Andy Cowton’s original music and sound design.

It’s a shock when Bush slows down and pulls back to show the source objects in their museum cases, quiet as a tomb, the sort of display most visitors blow past en route to something sexier, like a dinosaur or a blockbuster exhibit requiring timed entry tickets.

Other highlights include a lively assortments of guns, hats, chairs, and plastic toys.

If you start feeling overwhelmed by the visual intensity, don’t worry. Bush builds in a bit of a breather once you hit the clocks, the bulk of which presumably hail from the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich.

The ingenious animated short was 10 years in the making, a fact the artist modestly downplays:

It’s very simple. Simple story, a simple technique and that’s what I like. Poetry should be a little bit stupid. This is what Pushkin says, and I try and make my films a little bit stupid as well.

In addition to the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, you’ll find the featured artifacts housed in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London’s Museum of the Home (formerly known as the Geffrye Museum) as well as the Lucerne Historical Museum and the Bern Historical Museum.

Expect a much slower experience.

via Aeon

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Help yourself to her free downloadable poster series, encouraging citizens to wear masks. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Experience the Bob Ross Experience: A New Museum Open in the TV Painter’s Former Studio Home

Bob Ross is as renowned for the gentle encouragement of his voice as for his speedy technique: indeed, these very qualities are synonymous with the name “Bob Ross.” His revival in recent years has as much to do with the de-stressing effects of his permed onscreen persona as with our awe, ironic or otherwise, at his kitschy picture-perfect landscapes in under an hour. He’s become as much a saint of public television as Mr. Rogers and even more of an internet icon.

But unlike most other fandoms, the devoted lovers of Bob Ross have had no place to call their own. They might show up in Bob Ross cosplay at comic con. Yet no Bob Ross Con has made the scene. Leave it to Ross’s original Joy of Painting studio to fill the gap with a museum dedicated to the painting instructor. The Bob Ross Experience is part of a larger campus of buildings called Minnetrista in Muncie, Indiana, founded by the Ball family of Ball mason jars. It’s an “immersive exhibit,” featuring “original paintings and artifacts” and “inspiring visitors with Bob’s message of fearless creativity.”

What more could you want from a Bob Ross museum? Well, maybe a fully-online experience these days. For now, you’ll have to make the trip to Muncie, where locals pay $8 a ticket (kids $6, 3 & under are free) and non-residents shell out $15 ($12 per kid, etc). There may be nowhere else you can see Ross’s happy little trees in person. As Ayun Halliday wrote here recently, “sales of his work hover around zero.” Almost all of his paintings, save a few owned by the Smithsonian and a few private individuals, reside in storage in Northern Virginia, where an exhibit came and went last year.

Ross himself, who honed his method during short breaks in the Air Force, hardly ever exhibited in his lifetime; he was a made-for-TV painter with a small merchandising empire to match. Now, fans can make the pilgrimage to his creative TV home at the Lucius L. Ball house. Swoon over personal relics like his keys and hair pick and, of course, “the artist’s palette knife, easel, and brushes,” writes Colossal. “Many of the artifacts are free to touch.” A current exhibition at the Experience, “Bob Ross at Home” through August 15, 2021, showcases “a few dozen of the artist’s canvases, many on loan from Muncieans who got the works directly from Ross.”

Not only can you hang out on set and view Ross’s paintings and personal effects, but you can also, Artnet reports, “sign up for $70 master classes with certified Bob Ross instructors.” That’s $70 more than it costs to watch the master himself on YouTube, but if you’ve already made the trip…. One only hopes the instructors can channel what George Buss, vice president of the Experience, calls Ross’s best quality, his gentle fearlessness: “He takes what looks like a mistake and turns it into something beautiful.” And that, friends, is the true joy of the Bob Ross experience.

via Colossal

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

William Blake’s Paintings Come to Life in Two Animations

The poet and painter William Blake toiled in obscurity, for the most part, and died in poverty.

Twenty some years after his death, his rebellious spirit gained traction with the Pre-Raphaelites.

By the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, Blake was ripe to be venerated as a counter-cultural hero, for having flown in the face of convention, while championing gender and racial equality, nature, and free love.

Reclining half-naked on a “a fabulous couch in Harlem,” poet Allen Ginsburg had a hallucinatory encounter wherein Blake recited to him “in earthen measure.”

Ditto poet Michael McClure, though in his case, Bob Dylan’s “Gates of Eden” served as something of a medium:

I had the idea that I was hallucinating, that it was William Blake’s voice coming out of the walls and I stood up and put my hands on the walls and they were vibrating.

Blake’s work (and world view) continues to exert enormous influence on graphic noveliststheatermakers, and creatives of every stripe.

He’s also a dab hand at animation, collaborating from beyond the grave.

The short above, a commission for a late ‘70s Blake exhibition at The Tate, envisions a roundtrip journey from Heaven to Hell. Animator Sheila Graber parked herself in the Sculpture Hall to create it in public view, pairing Blake’s line “Energy is Eternal delight” with a personal observation:

Whether we use it to create or destroy—it’s the same energy. The practice of art can turn a person from a vandal to a builder!

More recently, the Tate gave director Sam Gainsborough access to super high-res imagery of Blake’s original paintings, in order to create a promo for last year’s blockbuster exhibition.

Gainsborough and animator Renaldho Pelle worked together to bring the chosen works to life, frame by frame, against a series of London buildings and streets that were well known to Blake himself.

The film opens with Blake’s Ghost of a Flea emerging from the walls of Broadwick Street, where its creator was born, then stalking off, bowl in hand, ceding the screen to God, The Ancient of Days, whose reach spreads like ink across the gritty facade of a white brick edifice.

Seymour Milton’s original music and Jasmine Blackborow’s narration of excerpts from Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence” seem to anticipate the fraught current moment, as does the entire poem:

Auguries of Innocence

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

And Eternity in an hour

A Robin Red breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage 

A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons

Shudders Hell thr’ all its regions 

A dog starvd at his Masters Gate

Predicts the ruin of the State 

A Horse misusd upon the Road

Calls to Heaven for Human blood 

Each outcry of the hunted Hare

A fibre from the Brain does tear 

A Skylark wounded in the wing 

A Cherubim does cease to sing 

The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight

Does the Rising Sun affright 

Every Wolfs & Lions howl

Raises from Hell a Human Soul 

The wild deer, wandring here & there 

Keeps the Human Soul from Care 

The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife

And yet forgives the Butchers knife 

The Bat that flits at close of Eve

Has left the Brain that wont Believe

The Owl that calls upon the Night

Speaks the Unbelievers fright

He who shall hurt the little Wren

Shall never be belovd by Men 

He who the Ox to wrath has movd

Shall never be by Woman lovd

The wanton Boy that kills the Fly

Shall feel the Spiders enmity 

He who torments the Chafers Sprite

Weaves a Bower in endless Night 

The Catterpiller on the Leaf

Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief 

Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly 

For the Last Judgment draweth nigh 

He who shall train the Horse to War

Shall never pass the Polar Bar 

The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat 

Feed them & thou wilt grow fat 

The Gnat that sings his Summers Song

Poison gets from Slanders tongue 

The poison of the Snake & Newt

Is the sweat of Envys Foot 

The poison of the Honey Bee

Is the Artists Jealousy

The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags

Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags 

A Truth thats told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent 

It is right it should be so 

Man was made for Joy & Woe 

And when this we rightly know 

Thro the World we safely go 

Joy & Woe are woven fine 

A Clothing for the soul divine 

Under every grief & pine

Runs a joy with silken twine 

The Babe is more than swadling Bands

Throughout all these Human Lands

Tools were made & Born were hands 

Every Farmer Understands

Every Tear from Every Eye

Becomes a Babe in Eternity 

This is caught by Females bright

And returnd to its own delight 

The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar 

Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore 

The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath

Writes Revenge in realms of Death 

The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air

Does to Rags the Heavens tear 

The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun 

Palsied strikes the Summers Sun

The poor Mans Farthing is worth more

Than all the Gold on Africs Shore

One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands

Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands 

Or if protected from on high 

Does that whole Nation sell & buy 

He who mocks the Infants Faith

Shall be mockd in Age & Death 

He who shall teach the Child to Doubt

The rotting Grave shall neer get out 

He who respects the Infants faith

Triumphs over Hell & Death 

The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons

Are the Fruits of the Two seasons 

The Questioner who sits so sly 

Shall never know how to Reply 

He who replies to words of Doubt

Doth put the Light of Knowledge out 

The Strongest Poison ever known

Came from Caesars Laurel Crown 

Nought can Deform the Human Race

Like to the Armours iron brace 

When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow

To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow 

A Riddle or the Crickets Cry

Is to Doubt a fit Reply 

The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile

Make Lame Philosophy to smile 

He who Doubts from what he sees

Will neer Believe do what you Please 

If the Sun & Moon should Doubt 

Theyd immediately Go out 

To be in a Passion you Good may Do 

But no Good if a Passion is in you 

The Whore & Gambler by the State

Licencd build that Nations Fate 

The Harlots cry from Street to Street 

Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet 

The Winners Shout the Losers Curse 

Dance before dead Englands Hearse 

Every Night & every Morn

Some to Misery are Born 

Every Morn and every Night

Some are Born to sweet delight 

Some are Born to sweet delight 

Some are Born to Endless Night 

We are led to Believe a Lie

When we see not Thro the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night 

When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light 

God Appears & God is Light

To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 

But does a Human Form Display

To those who Dwell in Realms of day

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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.

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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.