5 galleries you can tour (digitally) on your lunch break

Essential art collections housed in epic architecture

As the world faces lockdown and cultural institutions close their doors, we’ve found some virtual alternatives that’ll help relieve the boredom of quarantine. Here are five essential art galleries that you can tour from the safety of your home – epic art collections housed in jaw-dropping surrounds.

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Home to the Medici’s extensive art collection, the Uffizi Gallery is a Florence hotspot – normally attracting snaking queues of tourists, prepared to wait for hours outside. This virtual tour takes you straight inside the gallery’s neoclassical interior, which is filled with works by the likes of Botticelli and da Vinci, as well as Hellenistic sculpture.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

This former Beaux-Arts railway station is home to work by some of France’s most-loved artists, including Manet, Monet, Rodin, Renoir, Cézanne – the list goes on. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture (which offers thousands of museum and gallery tours of institutions across the globe if this whets your appetite) you can wander the Musée d’Orsay’s hallowed halls people-free, including the barrel-vaulted hall that’s home to the world’s most extensive Impressionist collection.

The Guggenheim, New York

No trip to New York is complete without a journey round the Guggenheim, but this virtual tour lets you enjoy the architectural icon from anywhere in the world. Stop by Catherine Opie’s self-portraits, before heading to the top of the spiral staircase designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Although the Rijksmuseum’s IRL doors are now shut, it’s remained open via Twitter where it’s sharing weekly tours of different parts of the building. They’re short but sweet, giving a glimpse of the building’s grand architecture as well as its collection of Dutch masterpieces. If you want to click around on your own time, take a more immersive tour via Google Arts & Culture’s virtual walk-through.

Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

If you’d rather someone else lead the tour, sit back and enjoy this rambling, five-hour journey through St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. It’s a meditative experience that takes in 45 galleries and over 500 pieces of art – while giving you enough time to linger over the details. Pick your favourite gallery and then enjoy the rest of the tour in the background as you work through the afternoon.

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