Bored? Miss feeding your mind? Check out these 10 awesome cultural experiences to have from home!
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
For me, and I’m sure for many others, it feels like during the pandemic lockdown, all the things that make life worth living have had to shut down temporarily. We’re not allowed to meet with friends for a coffee on a sunny terrace; we’re forbidden from going to the movies, and we can’t even bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to enjoy in a park!
But even though we’ve been cut off from much of what we love to do, the good news is that the world of the arts has found a way to get to its audience! Yep, that’s right: a variety of glorious art venues have opened their doors, virtually, to the public. Today, through your computer, you can explore the treasures of the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, and many other mindblowing galleries and museums.
Ready to virtually travel to New York, Paris, London and beyond? Come with me through a tour of 10 awesome cultural experiences to have from home, below.
10 Cultural Experiences To Have From Home
When you mention Milan, people immediately think of fashion, trade fairs and the stock market, but seldom do they associate it with art. Travellers want to visit Florence, Rome and Venice to view their art galleries, but don’t know what bewitching art they are missing out on by skipping Milano. And I say this as a native of the city!
Besides the Castello Sforzesco, the Duomo and The Last Supper, the true treasure trove of artistic beauty is the Pinacoteca di Brera, which gathers a collection of the greatest masterpieces in the history of art. Amongst these are Mantegna’s Dead Christ and Three Mourners, Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus and Hayez’s The Kiss… to mention but a few masterpieces.
Now, you can browse around the majestic museum rooms virtually and admire the artworks. Maybe this will whet your appetite for a real visit to this amazing city, so you can see them in person?
Let’s take a virtual trip to Japan! Those who are fond of Japanimation, and revere the poetic storytelling of Hayao Miyazaki, will take delight in exploring the Ghibli Museum. This venue glorifies the animations made by Studio Ghibli and is located in Mitako, not far from Tokyo.
This video link will take you there, all the way from the subway stop to the museum, through the museum, and even into the restaurant! I predict you will be swept away by the magic of this place, which recreates the scenery of the best features produced by the iconic Japanese film company.
Thanks to the Museum’s virtual tour, you can choose which direction to go to throughout this iconic cultural centre. Enter the heart of London’s best museum and explore treasures like the ancient Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and Egyptian mummies. This is a great one to share with kids, too!
Learn more about world history by simply clicking here.
Across the pond in the real world, but just a click away for our experience, is another unconventional and enlightening modern art show. Exhibition XXI is the brainchild of the London-based ARTCELS in collaboration with HOFA Gallery.
They’ve just launched a new virtual contemporary art exhibit that features the likes of Banksy, George Condo, Kaws, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. Along with these art icons, you can also find the works of lhwa Kim, Retna, Daniel Arsham, Anthony James and Joseph Klibansky in a 3-dimensional, HD virtual show designed to be immersive, interactive and highly realistic.
Image: George Condo, Droopy Dog. Courtesy of Artcels.
5. The Uffizi
Millions flock to this prominent art museum, located adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in the Historic Centre of Florence, every year. There’s little doubt that this is one of the most important Italian museums, and also the most visited, and no wonder! It holds a collection of priceless works, particularly focused on the period of the Italian Renaissance.
When the ruling house of Medici died out, their art collections were gifted to the city of Florence under the famous Patto di famiglia negotiated by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress, who made the Uffizi is one of the first ever modern museums.
The gallery had been open to visitors by request since the sixteenth century, and today it’s offering virtual tours of its historic collections.
Image: Venus of Urbino by Titian
6. The Musee D’Orsay
In a city packed with culture, the Musee D’Orsay really stands out! This former train station is now home to some of the world’s most loved artworks by masters including Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, Manet, Renoir and more.
Marvel at masterpieces in high definition, using tools to get even more up close. You’ll be able to see every minute brushstroke, and learn more about the artists and their works here, too.
Those who miss going to the theatre during this confinement will be ecstatic to watch some of the best Shakespeare plays where they were originally shown in the 1600s. London’s Globe Theatre is now providing a streaming service of The Bard’s classics until June.
You’ll fall in love again with Shakespeare’s works and universal themes. Check out Gujarati All’s Well the Ends Well, and if English is not your first language, you can enjoy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Korean, Antony & Cleopatra in Turkish, and The Merchant of Venice in Hebrew. There’s even a British Sign Language version of Love’s Labour’s Lost!
Photograph: John Haynes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013)
Melodrama seems very fitting for the times we are living, and since we cannot go physically to the listen to a performance of Bel Canto, the Paris Opera has been offering the public its most beautiful ballets and operas on its website.
The Tales of Hoffmann, Carmen, and Swan Lake will catapult you into an oneiric realm of passions and lyricism. Plus you will get a glimpse of the stunningly beautiful Palais Garnier, famous for its opulent Baroque style interior decor and Beaux-Arts exterior architecture and for the ceiling area adorned with a painting by Marc Chagall.
Let’s now turn our attention to New York’s artistic hotspot: the Guggenheim Museum. Their wonderful website allows you to use interactive tours to explore the museum as though you were in a virtual reality space. You can go up and downstairs; closer or further to paintings, and move around the room via Google’s latest technology.
The museum is most famous for modern works by the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and other famous artists.
Image: Albert Gleizes, 1915, Composition for “Jazz”, oil on cardboard, 73 × 73 cm
10. The Louvre
For many, this is the ultimate museum experience! The vast collections here include not only art, but historical objects, too. The collections are divided into eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.
And now you can visit this popular Parisian destination online. This is one of the best cultural experiences to have from home, since there’s so much variety on offer! Just some of the virtual tours you can experience include:
Whether you want to marvel at the Mona Lisa or explore the history of ancient Egypt, you’ll love exploring this museum, which is the world’s largest art museum. And the best part? No enormous queues for tickets for a change!