A Virtual Day At The Musée du Louvre
A trip to the Louvre makes for a magical day, but it previously would’ve been impossible to do without jumping on a plane and flying to Paris. But now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, and the Musée du Louvre’s forward thinking, you don’t need to be in Paris to experience the wonders of the Louvre, you can do that from wherever you have an internet connection.
At the end of March, the Musée du Louvre put their entire collection online. That’s over 480,000 pieces that can now be seen for free, from your laptop or your phone. But the exploration doesn’t stop there, with four virtual tours of exhibitions in the Petite Galerie available for your enjoyment. This offers such a unique opportunity to explore some of the greatest pieces of art and to tick that bucket list-worthy trip to the Louvre off, at least for now.
Years ago when I first set foot in the Louvre, I was blown away. Words cannot describe the energy or the experience, so I was eager to relive that to an extent with the virtual options available. I will be the first to admit that it doesn’t compare to being there in person, but since that’s not an option right now, this exceeds any and all expectations.
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I started my virtual day at the Louvre with the virtual tours in the Petite Galerie. The four tours you’ve got to choose from are:
Each tour lets you view the wonders of the Petite Galerie and these exhibitions through the lens of a 36o degree camera, able to zoom in and out to take everything in, and guided by handy floating cursors, which tell you where you can go next once you’ve finished with an area of the tour. And if you’ve decided to revisit these virtual tours, or want to get to a specific part without navigating through the entire exhibit, then the menu option will give you the ability to jump through to whichever part you were looking forward to most.
Tour One – The Advent of the Artist
The first exhibit on offer explored the transition from the anonymous craftsmanship from the classical period, to the grandeur and glory of the renaissance. Especially through the art of renowned artists like Delacroix, Rembrandt, Tintoret and more. Taking you through the exhibit, you can view the paintings, portraits and statues created during this time, and learn about how the transition from the classical period to the renaissance was so transformative to the world of art. This is a fascinating exhibit from a history standpoint, but the pieces of art are mesmerizing, showing the skill and talent as the phase in history shifted and what the role of the artist grew to be.
Tour Two – Power Plays
This exhibit explores the connection between art and political power, showing how the portrayal of political figures in art evolved and why the grandeur found in these pieces of art was deemed necessary at that point in time. With a vast range of pieces from, but certainly not limited to, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, and so much more, this exhibit explore how humans viewed and portrayed power, along with the historical significance of these portrayals. This exhibit is one of my favourites, though I do enjoy them all, simply because you get to watch how each time period, country and seemingly different approach to power feeds into one another, and why the art world picked up on that and represented it as such.
Tour Three – The Body In Movement
This exhibit was all about movement, and how artists were able to convey movement through their work, regardless of the art form. It is fascinating to go through and see how each artist represents movement differently, and the sheer talent of their work. From the breathtaking portrayals in portraits to the impressive sculpture work, this exhibit is a culmination of artists exploring physical movement, to then transcending the physical and exploring how the soul of a person impacts the portrayal of movement.
Tour Four – Founding Myths: From Hercules to Darth Vader
The final of the four virtual tours of the Petite Galerie explores how artists, from illustrators, sculptors, puppeteers, filmmakers and musicians, have taken a myth, drawn inspiration from it, and given it life in the form of art. You’re first taken through how myths are formed, and the art that came out of some of the earliest myths, as the exhibit sets you up to be taken through time and these various portrayals. You see how the myths of heroes and their artistic portrayals have evolved, and right alongside it is the exploration of myths about monsters, and how artists have chosen to portray those in their art. Though skewed more towards younger visitors, this exhibit still provides a fascinating looking into how art can be influenced and how an artist can use their vision to portray a myth in a completely different light.
Now that I’ve worked my way through the tours, and have taken in some history, fun facts, and of course, the reason you go to an art museum, the amazing art, it’s now time for the next stop on my virtual day at the Louvre. Since the tours only cover a very small portion of the art that the Musée du Louvre has on show, viewing the online collection is a great way to see more of what the Louvre has to offer.
Now, seeing all the 480,000+ pieces of art is an impossible task for any trip to the Louvre, even for a virtual museum trip. So it’s helpful that there are a few ways to explore the online collections, starting with the type of art, with your options including paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, jewellery & finery, writings & inscriptions, and, finally, objects. If you’re looking for a more collated viewing experience, or want a specific theme, then there are six albums for you to explore. And the final way to view the online collection, and the way I chose to on my virtual day at the Louvre, was to use the interactive map, and explore the museum room by room.
This is a great way to see entire collections that are housed within each room of the Musée du Louvre and if one happens to pique your interest, you can then learn more about it and the other pieces in the collection. And, if you’re anything like me, this is also a great way to plan out your in-person trip to the Louvre.
All in all, though an unconventional way to explore a museum, spending a virtual day at the Louvre is a great way to explore this beautiful museum, without leaving the comfort of home.