While the pandemic has forced many to stay home, museums across the United States are bringing their world-famous collections online for anyone to view.
The public response has been enormous. American tech company Google recently reported its most searched terms of 2020, and the second most popular search after the word “virtual” was “virtual museum exhibitions.”
Here are five popular art exhibitions anyone can appreciate from home.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has digitized each floor of the museum so virtual visitors can wander its winding halls, top to bottom. Stand in front of a Glenn Ligon painting or in the center of the building and look up at the Alexander Calder mobile to get the full experience of this New York institution.
In Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty Museum allows visitors to peruse the museum’s permanent collection as it hangs on the walls or view each work individually — there are over 13,000 pieces from which to choose.
Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer has only 35 known works in existence. The National Gallery of Art in Washington has four of these paintings, which are now available to view in an online exhibition, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting. Viewers can zoom in on Vermeer’s A Lady Writing to see his immaculate application of oil paint. Clicking through the show, visitors can also learn more about several of Vermeer’s contemporaries, like Gerard ter Borch, a master at painting satin dresses.
From Martha Washington to Melania Trump, the National Portrait Gallery’s online exhibition, First Ladies of the United States, displays all American first ladies’ formal portraits. Virtual visitors can learn more about each first lady by clicking on the corresponding portrait. Visitors may learn, for instance, that Jackie Kennedy’s diplomacy assisted in convincing France to lend the Mona Lisa to the United States for an exhibition.
If it’s a starry night in Provence, France, you’re after, then the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has the solution. Stand virtually in front of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous work, The Starry Night. The view is open to one and all.
For those interested in exploring the art of diplomacy, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) illustrates how diplomacy has shaped the United States and defined its role in the world. While the physical museum is still under development, NMAD’s preview exhibit includes artifacts and images that highlight U.S. diplomats and their work with international partners to create a more stable world.
Banner image: The Thannhauser Collection, including Paul Cézanne’s “Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug (Fiasque, verre et poterie),” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. (© David Heald/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)