Art Appreciation – Virtually!

Life is full of stress. It often seems like we spend our days hurrying from one task to the next, with work demands, our family lives, and physical activities all jostling for attention. We emerge productive but exhausted. The idea of going to a museum or an art gallery sounds good, in theory – but who has time these days?

By skipping out on the museums, we’re also missing out on a lot of potential benefits to our mental health. Studies have shown that looking at paintings, going to exhibitions and interacting with art is good for the brain! It relieves stress, and enhances creativity. 

Looking at art also helps increase brain-power. When your brain is encountered with something unfamiliar, it has to work harder to understand it. When you’re immersed in a painting, all your neurons are firing, trying to figure out what you’re looking at and how it relates to you and your life. 

When you look at something beautiful, something else happens in your brain – it starts releasing dopamine. Your mind reacts in a similar way to when you fall in love, triggering a sensation of euphoria. 

Okay, you might say – that all sounds great, but I still don’t have time! 

This is where Virtual Reality steps in. Lately, VR travel has started to expand across a lot of different sectors, and art is one of the forerunners. Museums and galleries all over the world now have virtual visits available online, with 360° views, and close-up views of the pieces. You can immerse yourself in art created by geniuses from all over the world, without ever leaving your living room!

Here are a few of the best museums offering virtual tours. Enjoy yourself!

Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil

This is Brazil’s first modern museum, where the paintings seem to float in mid-air thanks to their clear perspex frames. They offer a range of different online exhibits.

MASP by Eduardo Ortega, Google Arts & Culture

The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. Unlike at the museum itself, online you can get as close as you like. With special online exhibits as well as a tour of the museum, this is worth a “visit”.

National Palace Museum, Taiwan

This museum in Taipei has one of the most extensive collections of Chinese art and artifacts in the world, with almost 700,000 pieces, dating back over 8,000 years. The collection is so huge you can easily get lost in it – which is why its website offers virtual tours, taking in the most beautiful pieces without getting overwhelmed.

Vatican Museum, Vatican City

The Vatican offers 360° tours of its spaces, including the Sistine Chapel. When you’re looking around, don’t forget to look up at its painted ceilings!

Virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel,

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

The Musée d’Orsay is one of the most famous museums in the world. You can visit its permanent collection and exhibitions online, and you can also take a 360° tour of its famous exterior – a renovated train station on the bank of the Seine.

Louvre, Abu Dhabi

The Louvre in Abu Dhabi offers live virtual tours with museum educators. Choose a timeslot and book your ticket, and the curators will take you on a 360° tour of the current international exhibit, explaining and chatting as they go.

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