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It’s always fun to “visit” art museums online and I’ll be spotlighting a couple of exhibitions this week that you should enjoy. First, though, as an introduction, here’s an article I wrote recently, A Museum Without Walls: Take a Virtual Tour of the World’s Great Art Museums.
Would you like to take a tour of the major art museums of the world for free (except for the cost of an internet service)? To discover, in the words of art historian Andre Malraux, a “museum without walls,” from New York to Seoul, Paris to Moscow, Amsterdam to Buenos Aires, where you can explore countless paintings, sculptures, photography, decorative arts, and other media guided by art experts?
For today art museums, from the oldest institutions to 21st century art collections, are increasingly investing their time and creativity in developing websites for virtual visitors like you.
Below is a summary of the variety of art museum websites available to you.
The Google Art Project. Since February 2011, the Google Art Project has been providing access online to art museums across the globe, expanding from 17 to more than 260 (and counting) sites. The Art Gallery of South Australia, Istanbul Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection are just a few of the recent additions.
Super Museums. The Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Prado and the State Hermitage Museum represent just a few of the “mega” museums. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds thousands of works of art in a variety of media, spanning centuries of art history, from ancient Egypt to the modern period. Its galleries display European, American, African, Asian, and Oceanic art. In addition, the museum exhibits special collections of costumes, furniture, armor, and musical instruments.
Super museum websites often offer extensive online collections with colorful images and detailed descriptions. Current exhibitions are also highlighted with information on past and upcoming shows. Educational and interactive opportunities are available with special features such as videos, podcasts, social media, and virtual tours.
A Museum of One’s Own. Are you a fan of Van Gogh? The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of his works in the world. its website is an excellent resources for Van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters as well as providing a chronicle of the major periods of his career. Or you might check out the websites of other museums dedicated to one artist such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Edvard Munch, Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, and Norman Rockwell.
Master Collectors. Discover the best of the great collectors and their visions of art on the websites of the following art museums: Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, a palace of art built by the American heiress in her hometown of Boston; the J. Paul Getty Museum that introduces you to the priceless collections of the oil billionaire at two sites, the Los Angeles center and the Getty Villa decorated with ancient Greek and Roman art in Malibu: and the Frick Collection, the elegant Fifth Avenue mansion of 19th century mogul, Henry Clay Frick, with galleries of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other famed European artists.
Museums, Museums, and More Museums. When the first Guggenheim Museum, designed by architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright, finally opened in New York City in 1959, its founder Solomon R. Guggenheim had been dead a decade. Could he have envisioned that four more art museums with his family name would someday be in Venice (1980), Berlin (1997), Bilbao, Spain (1997), and Abu Dhabi (planned completion 2017)? Take a look at the New York, Venice, and Bilbao Guggenheim museum websites: each one provides an overview of its collection plus images of the distinctive architecture of its building.
Across the Continents. Except for Antarctica, art museums are present on every continent from the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia to the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan to the Iziko South African National Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Take a look at our blogs on some of the art museums mentioned above.
Plus more than 20 other art museums!
Andre Malraux’s Museum Without Walls can still be purchased from amazon and other sellers. The edition was published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, in 1967.
The above images are used solely for educational purposes.
Create your own art museum in your home with Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively.