The next best thing to being there

The Coronation of Josephine- Jacques Louis David

I’ve been to the Louvre Museum in Paris. I remember standing in front of the Mona Lisa and thinking, ‘I don’t get what all the fuss is about.’ It’s a tiny painting behind reflective glass and armed guards. Yes, it was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, who had one of the best eyes for human anatomy ever, but standing there staring at this masterpiece left me cold. There was a painting I was wowed by that day titled The Coronation of Josephine. The rich, saturated colours and almost photographic detail were like nothing I’d ever seen in a painting. If I hadn’t been in the Louvre, chances are I would never have discovered this beautiful painting. Conversely, if I hadn’t been in the Louvre, chances are I never would have been so underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa.

Inside the State Hermitage Museum

 A museum that is currently on my bucket list is the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s likely that I will never get the chance to be witness to it’s opulence in person. There are quite a few museums on my bucket list from all over the world. While I may never get to see their contents right in front of me, Google has created the next best thing. http://www.googleartproject.com/ which gives access to 155 art collections and counting. The images of the artwork are all high resolution and each collection features a virtual tour of the gallery in which each collection is housed.

The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

From the comfort of my home, I have been to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Tate Gallery in London, the Palace of Versailles, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and yes, even the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. While it’s not the same experience as being there, it is the closest I may ever get to seeing some of the world’s greatest artistic masterpieces inside some of the world’s greatest architectural masterpieces.

So thank you to Google for creating the next best thing to being there for those of us who dream of being there.

3 responses to “The next best thing to being there

  1. HA! Love that you were underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa. I haven’t seen it but hope to one day, even if it’s not all that. I was in India a few years back and when I was planning my trip, I contemplated not going to the Taj Mahal because I had seen pics of it- why bother? I felt like I had already seen it, but that was far from the case. I went because it seemed like I should, but actually, it was amazing and beautiful in ways the pictures never told me. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. So, you never know.
    I hadn’t seen the google art project site- and yeah, not the same as being there, but still pretty cool. There’s just not enough time, money, world peace, etc to go everywhere, but for the places we miss, we can at least catch the highlights. Glad to know about it. That said, I had to fly through Moscow on my way to India and thought, I want to come back here someday to go to St. Petersburg- hopefully someday. Who knows- maybe I’ll see you there.
    Thanks for the post. -Liza Wolff-Francis, Matrifocal Point

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. You really hit the nail on the head when you talked about there being not enough time, money and world peace to go everywhere. In some ways it’s sad that the world is becoming more virtual, but for things like this it’s a pretty good substitute if you just can’t go there in person. The only thing this site can’t re-create is the emotional reaction that only experience can give you.
      For the record, I also want to go back to the Louvre and spend more than just one day there, but this time I won’t be wasting any time fighting the crowd around the Mona Lisa ;) But that will have to wait at least until I get to see the Hermitage for the first time.
      By the way, I’m a big fan of your blog.

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