"People's degree of freedom can be measured by the intensity of their dreams," wrote the poet, Alda Merini (1931 –2009). She was rather aware of the hardship and grief of reclusion, and never gave up on being one of the freest minds in contemporary Italian poetry. Art as fuel for dreams is not such a trivial teaching as it may sound, especially given the forced retreat that many are experiencing in Italy and around the world. Therefore, although a physical downtime is imposed on us, our eyes and mind can still travel far in space and time thanks to the formidable online offer by nearly all of the world's most important museums. From endless choices, we propose a selection of the most relevant ones here.
The Vatican Museums (Rome)
Possibly the world's most famous museum complex, the Vatican Museums welcomes nearly seven million visitors per year. It was founded in the 16th century during Julius II's papacy. Since then, the Museums have taken in an endless collection of classic art and sculptures commissioned by various popes across the centuries. Of course, the Vatican Museums include the Sistine Chapel—one of the Vatican's, and the world's, most valuable treasures. The Sistine Chapel is renowned for both Michelangelo's artwork, where the famous "Last Judgment" stands out, and for being the place of the popes' election since 1870. It can be visited via a 360-degree-technology virtual tour (click here). The same technology has been implemented for seven museum rooms (here).
The Louvre (Paris)
The museum par excellence, let alone the world leader in attendance (over 10 million per year), frankly does not seem to have a site that lives up to its fame. However, it will take just a bit of patience while getting the hang of a rather outdated user experience and to enjoy a 360-degree view of the Louvre's interior. Further and above all, online guided tours to the Egyptian antiquity exhibitions are available for free (click here).
The Uffizi Galleries (Florence)
The name Uffizi is famous worldwide. However, besides the famous galleries, the museum includes the Vasari Corridor, the Palazzo Pitti's collection, and the Boboli Gardens. These four come together to compose one of the most important museums in the world by the quantity—and possibly even more, the quality—of works. The Web site is evolved and very thorough. Its "Hypervisions" section offers a variety of multimedia items (click here).
The British Museum (London)
Founded in 1753, this museum represents one of the most powerful witnesses to human history. It features over eight million works, including the decisive key in deciphering hieroglyphs: the Rosetta Stone. Many works can be viewed online, including numerous unique pieces from the Ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Web site reports that a database update has been underway since 2017. However, 2,335,338 records are currently available, and 1,018,471 feature one or more images. Basically, one can spend months on it (click here).
The Prado Museum (Madrid)
Technically, the Prado is a painting gallery. It exhibits works by major Spanish, Italian, and Flemish artists, most notably Velázquez's "Las Meninas" and Goya's "The Third of May 1808." Overall, the collection consists of 8,600 paintings and over 700 sculptures. The Web site database offers 5,738 items that can be filtered in various ways: by author, subject, date, school, support, and technique. What is interesting is that 3,970 works and objects are not exposed to the public and one can only admire them online (click here).