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Masterpieces at home…

Hello again. I hope you’re finding lots of things to do to keep you busy and are staying safe and well.

This week, as we can’t currently go out to see any art in galleries or museums, I thought I’d look at what’s available online, for us to enjoy from the comfort of our sofas (and without that annoying tall person who’s always standing right in front of what we want to look at).

Fortunately, lots of galleries and museums had already put some, or all of their collections online, so there’s plenty to choose from. I’ve been having a browse around, it’s great fun and it also means you get to visit some of the galleries you’ve never been able to get to in the flesh. This morning I was in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and New York….not bad going!

If you have particular favourites, a quick search will probably bring you straight there, but to get you started, here are links to some of the most popular galleries and museums. A warning though, browsing these sites can be addictive.

So, in no particular order…

The National Gallery, London. The National Gallery had made the job easy by putting up links to their most popular paintings - look for ’30 must see paintings’. There are also virtual tours, which let you navigate yourself around some of the rooms. It’s a be weird when you start, but you quickly get the technique and at least you have the whole gallery to yourself!

They’ve also given a link to their Titian exhibition, which had to close just days after opening in March. If you’re interested in Titian, you might want to catch the documentary ‘Titian Behind Closed Doors’ on BBCiPlayer which is available for about another 2 weeks.

Now let’s cross the Channel and head for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has loads of brilliant galleries, but for now, let’s just look at two really important ones.

First, The Rijksmuseum. They’ve thoughtfully put together a page ‘Rijksmuseum from home’ which will take you to various links, with curators giving talks about certain objects, or, my favourite, access to a ‘masterpieces up close’ virtual tour. If you’ve been to the Rijksmuseum recently, you’ll definitely appreciate how quiet this tour is!

Then, of course it wouldn’t be Amsterdam without a seeing the Van Gogh Museum. Again, they have already come up with a ‘museum at home’ page that will take you to lots of fascinating Van Gogh information and pictures.

Next stop - Paris and The Louvre.

Perhaps not quite as easy to navigate as the previous galleries, but there’s some really interesting and quite quirky content if you explore their website. Start here and see what takes your fancy, it’s worth the effort.

Now let’s hop across The Pond for our next visit, this time we’re going to New York, to visit the Guggenheim Museum.

They’ve done a good job here of putting a whole range of things online, from art and artists to some fabulous resources for teachers to help with online schooling. If you’re looking for something different, spend a while finding out what’s available.

And finally, let’s come back home, hopping into the British Museum and the Ashmolean.

At the British Museum, you can use Google Street View to look around lots of the public galleries. This link should take you the the menu and you can choose where to begin. Again, it takes a little practice to get the navigation right (or perhaps it’s just me), but once you do, it’s a great way to look around. Of course there’s also lots of other art related information here too.

I have a soft spot for the Ashmolean, Oxford, so I have to include it on this virtual tour. Another museum trying hard to be useful and imaginative during this current situation. I particularly recommend looking at their sections on ‘ Treasures’ and ‘Stories’ - where curators talk about special items in their care.

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