Need a culture fix while self-isolating? You can tour these museums from your couch

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is the world’s second largest museum after the Louvre.

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As a growing number of countries go into lockdown due to the coronavirus — and museums and galleries around the world are closed — there are some you can visit from the comfort of your own couch. 

Even in countries which are not yet in lockdown, such as the U.K., businesses have been encouraged to close temporarily. Many are doing so because people just aren’t leaving the house, leaving venues like cinemas, theaters and museums deserted.

Musicians and theaters have already started to stream performances online to make up for the fact that live performances have been cancelled or postponed. 

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s conservation charity, the National Trust, is planning to open all of its gardens and parks for free during the outbreak. It said in a tweet this was “so the nation can use open spaces to relax and refresh, while following the government’s social distancing guidance.” 

But for those unable to venture to outside, there are many museums and art galleries that already offer virtual tours.

Louvre, Paris, France

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The Parisian museum offers three virtual tours including one of the moat that was the original perimeter of the Louvre when it was first built as a fortress by French king Phillippe Auguste.

Virtual visitors can also explore the gallery’s Egyptian Antiquities collection of artifacts or take a look at the Galerie d’Apollon, a recently restored part of the Louvre known for its high-vaulted ceiling with paintings including “Apollo slaying the serpent Python” by Delacroix. 

Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France 

Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

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On the opposite side of the Seine river sits the Musée d’Orsay, formerly a train station, now home to artworks such as Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” — one of more than forty self-portraits the artist created of himself over a decade. 

People keen to take a look at the gallery’s wider collection of post-impressionist works can head to its page on the Google Arts & Culture website

Vatican museums, Rome, Italy 

Sistine Chapel, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace inside the Papal Basilica of St. Peter.

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For fans of ceiling artwork, the Vatican museum offers an online view of Michelangelo’s paintings in the in the Sistine Chapel. 

Visitors can also get a 360 degree tour of the Vatican’s collection of classical sculptures in its Pio Clementino and Chiaramonti museums.

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C., U.S. 

The Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, at the historic Patent Office Building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

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Also available on Google Arts & Culture are tours around the Smithsonian’s gallery of 23,000 artworks, which includes a collection of portraits of U.S. presidents and first ladies. 

Other works include photographic portraits of American cultural icons such as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. 

State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

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If you have five hours to spare, check out this one-take video journey through the second-largest museum in the world. 

The museum houses some three million art and culture artefacts, including paintings by 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt, such as “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” 

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid, Spain 

A visitor looks at the paintings that hang in a room during the press preview of the exhibition ‘Rembrandt and Amsterdam Portraiture, 1590-1670’ at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum on February 17, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

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