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Best free virtual tours for art students

The Frida Kahlo Museum, part of the free virtual tours that you can find with top art museums. Source: Omar Torres/AFP

Emily in Paris? More like Emily-sad-and-stuck-at-home. Coronavirus, vaccine trials, restrictions, pandemic, lockdown — we are sick and tired of hearing of these words. This virus has definitely got all of us on a tightly-wound leash. Not one to just complain and do nothing, we thought we could help you make the most of it with our list of free virtual tours of famous museums. 

They are in 12 countries and full of unique and individual art and history, perfect if you’re an art student or an enthusiast. Most of the virtual exhibits mentioned in this article are available through Google Arts and Culture as the online platform has collaborated with said museums, showcasing high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from over 2,000 museums throughout the world and all from the comfort of your sofa.

Netherlands

Everyone knows who Vincent Van Gogh is. He was the Dutch post-impressionist painter who cut off his ear and got famous after he died — which is the case for most artists. One of Van Gogh’s stellar pieces, “The Starry Night” in watercolour is still used today as a  fine example of what true art is with his style of naturalistic rendering of light and colour. You can take a look at his work at the Van Gogh Museum here. Also, if you’re interested in Dutch history and culture and love good free virtual tours, you can also explore Rijksmuseum from your home. 

 

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UK

Some of the world’s best museums are located in the UK. The Victoria and Albert Museum boasts over 2.27 million objects and the British Museum has eight million works of human history, art and culture with more than 60 free galleries to be explored.

Sir David Attenborough as narrator to a self-guided tour of the Natural History Museum? Yes, please. While at it, why not binge-watch some of his documentaries? 

Tate Modern, one of London’s most iconic art galleries, is also offering a 360-degree tour following the director Frances Morris and TV presenter Nick Grimshaw — it will feel like a private personal tour. 

Korea

South Korea is best known for k-pop, which is not only a music genre, but a culture that draws in people from all over the world. Aside from this huge music culture, Korea is also known for kimchi, soju and contemporary art. Check out the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art through the Google Arts and Culture platform, and traverse through modern Korean art with online exhibitions and 3D tours in and outside the museum. Free virtual tours are the new way to see the world digitally. 

 

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United States

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, more commonly known as The Guggenheim, is a must-see that visitors to New York often put at the top of their checklist. Add The Metropolitan Museum of Art to your list too, globally known for its architecture, art and host of the Met Gala organised by Anna Wintour from Vogue. You’ll want to check out their free virtual tours, even if you’re sitting at home in your baggy casual clothes. 

 

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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is one of the world’s largest influential museums with the biggest collection of avant-garde paintings, sculptures, films, and multi-media art. For those who like artists such as Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, and Cindy Sherman, they should check out the free virtual tour from The Broad with the coolest exhibitions. 

Spain

Siesta, fiesta, and more importantly, los artistas! Spain is fun, and home to priceless art museums and one-of-a-kind architecture. Speaking about architecture, Antoni Gaudi is known for his Catalan Modernism portrayed through his architectural work mostly in Barcelona, such as in the church of “Sagrada Familia”.

Another quite popular spot that offers a free virtual tour is the Dalí Theatre-Museum, home to all things bizarre and surreal by Salvador Dali. Then if you’re up to digitally transport yourself to a magnificent 15th-century old building in Valladolid, which is known for its medieval history, click here. This museum, which was once used as a centre for theologians, mystics and inquisitors, is now known as the National Sculpture Museum. 

Finally the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, famous for its paintings and art from the 19th century including Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, is part of the variety of free virtual tours in Spain and worth checking out!

Mexico

Tequila: one shot, two shots, three shots, floor. Line up your salt, ready your slices of orange, we’re heading to the land of tacos! Frida Kahlo, a global icon known for her unibrow, self-portraits and works inspired by her country has a museum (more of a colonial house) full of her art that you can check out here.

 

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Are you into pre-Hispanic history and archaeology? The National Museum of Anthropology is Mexico’s largest museum with several ancient artifacts dating back to the country’s pre-Columbian heritage. These free virtual tours are easily accessible from your own home!

China

Dim sum, want some? You could order dim sum, and then check out the Palace Museum for your fill of the Chinese arts and history. Ancient history can be fascinating. 

France

Bonjour, you might as well buy yourself some pastries (whatever your nearest grocer’s has that is similar enough to French ones) and sit tight at home while you explore every corner of the Louvre where some of the world’s finest art is. Oh, not to mention that Beyonce and Jay-Z shot a music video here. Not only are there several free virtual tours to choose from here, but you have the power to choose from “The Body in Movement” — about performing arts — to “Egyptian Antiquities” which is all about ancient Egypt.

Italy

Arrivederci. Please make yourself a giant bowl of pasta as you make the most of the following free virtual tours. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Vatican Museums, Italy is known to have taken art to entirely new levels, even as far back as the Ancient Roman days. 

Greece

When you think of Greece, do you think of Greek gods? Then the free virtual tour to the  Acropolis Museum is just right for you with its exhibitions of modern and ancient history on one of Greece’s most famous archeological sites. 

Japan

You’re stuck at home but you can still order some sushi to be delivered home and imagine you’re touring some of Japan’s finest museums. Kyoto National Museum is a must-see, as is another cool private museum featuring Western art — also the oldest in Japan —  called the Ohara Museum of Art.

The Sand Museum is an open air museum showing sand sculptures, strategically located at the Tottori Sand Dunes. Another two museums to check out while in Japan — but really from your own home — are Adachi Museum of Art and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

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