Stuck inside? Welcome to the world of armchair travel. When your wanderlust is constrained by physical limitations but not WiFi, these European art museums with virtual tours will let you explore some of the greatest art collection in the world. These art museum tours online cover from several of the foremost museums in the world including a virtual tour of the Louvre and a British Museum virtual tour. A museum virtual tour online is a great way to acquaint yourself with a museum before you actually visit or, alternatively, wile away the hours when you are at home.
Art Museums with Virtual Tours
These 7 European art museums with virtual tours contain some of the most well-known works of Western art.
Each virtual museum tour is created by the individual institution and varies in the depth of coverage. For example, for such an enormous and important museum, I wish the virtual tour of the Louvre offered more access to its collections. On the other hand, the online art museum tour of the Rijksmuseum is superb as are the rest of the online materials related to the museums collection. In terms of fun to browse, I really liked the El Prado online collection.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The Louvre
The Louvre in Paris France has several online tours available.
- The virtual tour of the Louvre includes its collection of Egyptian antiquities as well as the old 12th century moat from when the Louvre was used as a royal palace.
- The Louvre virtual tour also has shows off an exhibition at the Petite Galerie and an OTT room at the Petite Galerie, the Gallerie d’Apollon. This room was a reception hall for Louis XIV and later the inspiration for the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
The panorama photos of Le Louvre virtual tour are cool because you can visit as you would if you were there, dipping in and out of different rooms that interest you.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museums in Italy has some of its museums and the Sistine Chapel available online to view. The Vatican Museums virtual tour offers that 360 degree view which reminds me of house buying sites.
On the plus side, the Vatican Museum’s virtual tour is all much less crowded than if you were actually there. I took a tour of the Vatican Museum before it opened which was a smart move because it really got crowded really fast afterwards.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands is the Dutch national art museum and covers art over an 800 year period of Dutch history. The Rijksmuseum has several tours you can take online of its collections. First, the Rijksmuseum online tour shows off the Gallery of Honor which is the must-see pieces when you visit the museum – Rembrandt, Vermeer and the like. Everyone who visits the Rijksmuseum makes a beeline to the Gallery of Honor.
On the Rijksmuseum online tour, you get the 360 degree view of the Gallery of Honor but there is English audio accompanying 18 of the pieces which gives a short explanation of what you are seeing.
If you want to see more than the Gallery of Honor, don’t forget the rest Rijksmuseum collection itself – hundreds of thousands of art has been made available online for your perusal. In addition, there are other visual gems on the Rijksmuseum online tour like the videos explaining the restoration of Rembrandt’s Night Watch and YouTube channels showing you techniques of the masters etc.
I am the first to admit that I can’t paint to save my life BUT being shown the techniques helped me better appreciate the end result. The Rijkmuseum, in my opinion, has the best virtual tours online of European art museums.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The Hermitage
The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Russia is the second largest art museum in the world and was founded by Catherine the Great as a private gallery for the art collected but the court. You can imagine it’s pretty amazing!
Here’s an art museum online tour of the Hermitage on YouTube.
Virtual Tours of Art Museums in Spain
Madrid offers two premier art museum virtual tours. In real life these museums are also located near each other so they are both easy to visit.
The Prado Museum in Madrid Spain is the main art gallery in Spain with thousands of European works dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries. In this virtual tour of an art museum, you can view works at the Prado in either a timeline which shows an artwork and what was happening in the world at the time or scroll through the collections themselves. Explore the collections in different ways, such as by time period, artist or themes (e.g., saints, Royal portraits etc).
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is another premier art museum in Madrid, Spain. The Thyssen has over 1000 works of art in an eclectic collection of European and American art reflecting its origin as a family collection. It contains works from Delacroix and Goya to Roy Lichtenstein. There are 50 virtual visits you can take from Picasso to Pop Art in the 360 degree view.
Virtual Tours of Art Museums in England
England has an amazing art collection housed in its various museums, many of which are free to visit if you are there in person. Of these three virtual collections, the British Museum and the National Gallery have free entry but not the Royal Collection.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The British Museum
The British Museum in London England has amassed an enormous collection of human history, art and culture primarily thanks to ‘collecting for safekeeping’ during the days of the British Empire. No cheesy 360 degree view here, the British Museum virtual tour is organised by continent and theme in a timeline format.
The image in the collection has audio, an origin map and other similar objects in the collection you may find of interest. The British Museum virtual tour encourages a deep dive into topics that can have you scrolling for hours.
The online version is a great preview for when you are next in London – remember the British Museum is free to visit and a great London museum for kids!
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The National Gallery
The National Gallery which dominates Trafalgar Square in London is the repository of the British national collection of art treasure. It has over 2300 artworks from the 13th century to the 20th century and representative works from every important era in Western art.
The online tours of the National Gallery offers both a virtual reality tour of the Sainsbury Wing (the newest wing) or the usual 360 degree tour of both the Sainsbury Wing and another 18 Gallery rooms.
Art Museum Virtual Tour of The Royal Collection
Did you know that the Royal Family has one of the most amazing art collections in the world? The Royal Collection is the result of having a dominant Empire in the 19th Century as well as a stable (ish) monarchy over hundreds of years.
On the online tour of the Royal Collection, you can scroll through everything from chalk drawings by Michelangelo to that Victorian gold grand piano that Queen Elizabeth II had in the background of her Christmas address to the nation in 2018.
People thought a gold grand piano in one of her many living rooms looked out of touch when the country was still reeling from years of austerity. Hello? She lives in palaces. Why expect her to be in touch? That’s not the point of monarchy.
500+ Virtual Tours of Art Museums
If there is something cool going on, you know Google has to get in on the action.
On the other hand, the Google Arts and Culture Collection is amazing. Simply amazing.
There are 500+ virtual art museum tours from around the world available at this portal. Famous European art museums include the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Tate Britain in London.
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