The legendary Musée du Louvre in Paris is presently closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, like many art institutions around the world, the Louvre is taking the opportunity to bring its massive collection of artwork and artifacts to a global audience by creating easy-to-explore virtual catalogs. The museum has revamped its website and has added a new, free platform where researchers and art lovers can browse 482,000 entries from the rich collections.
The virtual collection search is made possible by the new digitization efforts of the museum, which presents many pieces that were not publicly searchable. “Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” President-Director of the Musée du Louvre Jean-Luc Martinez says. “For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage. The Louvre’s stunning cultural heritage is all now just a click away!”
Through the site, you can search for artists or specific pieces of artwork. Alternatively, you can use it to browse via a material (such as textiles). Each object page is full of information on the artwork, its creation, and its provenance. But if you prefer a more interactive experience, try the website's virtual map feature. “Walk” through the halls of the Louvre (once a royal palace) and explore the artworks on display by room. You can begin in the galleries full of ancient artifacts on the ground floor and continue to the magnificent European paintings by artists such as Delacroix on the second floor.
The museum hopes these new ways of exploring their collections will foster and promote engagement with the arts for years to come.
The Louvre Museum in Paris has placed its enormous collections of more than 480,000 items online for all to virtually explore for free.