Have you ever wanted to tour some of the great museums of the world but didn’t have the money, time or ability to travel?
It may be a while before you can make that happen but there is a way to tour an art museum without ever leaving home.
Many of the worlds best art museums have taken advantage of modern technology and developed virtual museums that are accessible by anyone for free.
While it may not be the same as visiting the museum in person, in some cases it may be even better.
Virtual tours often enable you to get closer to the artwork than would be possible in the actual museum.
You can visit several museums in one day and relax and enjoy your coffee or glass of wine while doing so.
Here is a list of 8 of the worlds best museums that offer virtual tours along with a wealth of information about the artworks and artists. Enjoy!
If you want to read more about the different styles you see, check out my post about painting styles.
1. Vatican Museum, Rome
The Vatican Museum has arguably one of the largest collections of artwork in the world. You can view tapestries, murals, paintings, sculptures and of course a 360° view of the Sistine Chapel as well as other areas of the Vatican.
The Vatican Museum contains some of the worlds most important sculptures and paintings. Currently there are more than 20,000 works on display. Certainly enough to keep you occupied and entertained for a few days. 🙂
2. The Louvre, Paris
Take a virtual tour of one of the most iconic museums in the world, The Louvre. This tour takes you through a viewing of exhibits of works by Rembrandt, Delacroix and other great artists as well as Greek and Roman sculptures and Egyptian antiquities.
This is the museum that houses Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa protected by bullet proof glass and armed guards.
The building itself is historic, built in the 12th century and houses over 38,000 pieces of artwork. This tour is short but still interesting.
3. The National Gallery of Art, Washington
The National Gallery of Art offers virtual tours that include audio and video. The gallery contains collections of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and other artwork dating from the Middle Ages to the present.
You can also access a lecture series by artists and scholars on various subjects relating to fine art. Current exhibits include Degas and Raphael.
4. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Housed in a renovated Paris railway station, the Musée d’Orsay contains the worlds largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.
You can browse artworks by Vincent van Gogh, Jean-Francois Millet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and many others.
5. MASP, São Paulo, Brazil
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a private, non profit museum in Brazil. It contains more than 8.000 works from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
The second floor gallery features unique crystal easels that make the artwork appear as if they are suspended in space.
The museums collections include paintings, sculptures and even costumes from around the world.
6. J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles offers virtual tours and museum views of works dating as far back as the eighth century.
You can view European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, Asian, and American photographs.
Click on stories, collections or individual works for close up viewing. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a virtual view of the museum itself.
7. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam contains 80 galleries and 8,000 artworks by such famous artists as Vermeer and Rembrandt. The museum chronicles 800 years of dutch art.
You can view collections and individual works as well as tour the museum virtually through the 8 museum views.
8. Salvador Dali Museum, Florida
I have saved my favorite for last. The Salvador Dali Museum is probably the most fitting museum to visit in today’s surreal world.
The 360° virtual tour takes you through the galleries of Dali’s work as well as the grounds of the museum. There are over 2,400 of Dali’s painting, sculptures and other works of art.
The museum itself with its surreal architecture has been named one of the 10 most interesting museums in the world.
The museum has its own app for IOS or Android enabling you to tour the museum on your phone. Just search for The Dali Museum in the app store or play store.
I hope you enjoy some of these virtual tours. Make it a little mini stay at home vacation. Relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine and some nice music and enjoy the beautiful works of art from around the world and across the centuries.
Keep a note book handy to jot down ideas because these works of art are sure to inspire some new paintings of your own.