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During this current Coronavirus pandemic, as humankind hunkers down, in various stages of shutdown, lockdown, and just plain down, one way to get through is to gaze at the globe’s most stirring and provoking art.

To that end, one benefit of being cooped up in the house is that one can now tour the museums of the world, taking in fantastic art on different continents, all from the “comforts” (though those comforts are less comforting, now that we experience them 24/7) of home. Art takes us outside of ourselves, and if ever we needed to be transported, it is now.

A March 12 article from Travel + Leisure magazine, called “Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch,” handily rounds up the best of the world’s virtual museum offerings from London to Mexico to Seoul. After half an hour of scrolling through several of these museums, I found myself heartened and enriched beyond what I would have imagined.

My highlights:

MASP, São Paulo

“The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a nonprofit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair.” In this case, it is the way the museum hangs the artwork—floating in air and not hanging on a wall—that is fascinating.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

“This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.” As I always read the plaques beside each work of art when I am physically touring a museum, I enjoyed reading them online as I scrolled.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

“Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum—the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.” Van Gogh is my favorite artist, so I toured this museum first. I was enthralled by all of it, even Vincent’s undeniably disturbed side (see: “Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette”). From the dreamy “Almond Blossom” to the intriguing (as in hmmm, what were you thinking, Vincent?) “The Potato Eaters,” this tour will give you all the dimensions of this tortured artist. I highly recommend the online exhibit titled Vincent van Gogh’s love life for some eye-opening tidbits and fabulous art.

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