Enjoy a tour of the Louvre from home

The Louvre | Photo by Daniel Gregoire via Unsplash
The Louvre | Photo by Daniel Gregoire via Unsplash

Enjoy a tour of the Louvre from home

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

There’s no disputing life is different these days. Meals in cafes are now picnics, trips to the movies have been replaced by Netflix on the sofa and parties take place over Zoom. The lack of travel is a particularly bitter pill to swallow, and with it, the whole slew of activities one generally takes part in while exploring a new place.  

A visit to Paris is a dream to which many aspire, but sadly, this remains on hold for now and into the foreseeable future. While in the City of Light, tops on any art-lover’s to-do list would be spending a few good hours in the world-famous Musée du Louvre. In preparation for that day which sooner or later is bound to come, it’s now possible to explore the treasures it holds within virtually.  

On March 26, the Louvre announced the launch of two websites designed to make the breath of their collections accessible to the art-enthralled public. The website collections.louvre.fr is a platform bringing together the entirety of the museum's works for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the Louvre's website has been revamped to make it more visual and immersive.

The collections website contains more than 480,000 entries, including not only works belonging to the Louvre but those from the Musée Delacroix, sculptures in the Tuileries Gardens and the Carrousel, and works recovered from Germany after World War II and entrusted to the Louvre's care, pending return to their rightful owners. An interactive map allows for exploration of the museum room by room.

The Louvre's website shows the artworks within the context of the physical space in which they are displayed, allowing virtual visitors to observe details of the palace’s decor as they browse through the rooms.

With nearly half a million works of art now at their disposal, how do casual art lovers even begin to come to grips with the enormity of what’s on offer?

A possible way to settle in with the contents of the collections website would be to browse through one of the Louvre albums. The Art of Portraiture, for example, takes virtual visitors on a tour of 60 sculptures, drawings and paintings depicting historical figures and private persons. Major Events in History is a compilation of 26 artworks depicting key moments in the history of humankind.

Aspiring to visit the Louvre yourself once travel is back on the agenda? “The Louvre’s Masterpieces” walks a first-time visitor through its most significant works of art with clear-cut instructions as to where to turn and what to observe, from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Michelangelo’s sculptures. When the day comes for your own real-life visit, you’ll navigate through the museum like a pro and maybe even experience a moment or two of déjà vu.

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