Among the many industries strongly affected by the Coronavirus is the arts industry. Most museums around the world are closed, as well as theaters and concert halls. At the same time, many people are staying home to prevent the spread of the virus and have more free time than usual on their hands. While our options to enjoy some arts and culture are clearly limited, there is one alternative widely available to us: virtual museum visits. And as Amuze creates audio tours for art museums around the world, we notice the demand for this. We receive a lot of feedback and requests about virtual art tours via email, Instagram, and Twitter.
Over the last years, museums and institutions have slowly developed their offering to enjoy art from the comfort of your home. Google Arts & Culture is a wonderful initiative that allows you to explore arts from around the world. And many museum websites have plenty of interesting content available for you during this downtime. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, is closed now, but they encourage visitors of their website to explore their museum online. Do you want to learn about their collection of British or Abstract art? Or about the works of Mary Cassatt? Just get started online.
In the Amuze app, you can also visit some of the best art museums in the world from the comfort of your house. While we designed our app to enhance your museum visits, we have adapted our content such that you can now also enjoy it outside the museum. Just download our app in the iOS or Google Play stores and get started in seconds. And it is all free. We just released a Virtual Tour of Renaissance Art, containing some of the absolute highlights of this very popular art movement.
Taking this tour will allow you to travel from the Vatican Museums to the Uffizi to the National Gallery of Art in seconds. It starts early in the Renaissance, and you will learn about the innovative works by artists like Fra Angelico, Donatello, and Filippo Lippi. Their innovations inspired the next generation who developed some of the most exquisite works of art ever made. Two of those works are by Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera and The Birth of Venus.
His works were followed by the works of the three greatest Renaissance artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Their frescos, paintings, and sculptures reached such a level of perfection that many generations after them did not even try to improve on them. They decided to change their style and introduce the distortions known as Mannerism. This led people like Parmigianino, Titian, and Veronese to develop their unique works that found a new audience. It is still considered Renaissance art, but there are clear differences between their works and the art from the High Renaissance.
In times of crisis, art can be a welcome distraction. It can provide comfort and inspiration. And the great thing is that you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home for free. So, I encourage you to explore the virtual content that are available, whether it is are provided by a museum itself, a company like Google, or us. Let me finish with a selective list of online resources I recommend:
Everybody who has driven by car through Los Angeles knows the feeling of congestion. Some people even have nightmares about roads like the 91, the 101, and the 110. And maybe worst of all is Interstate 405 running from the north to the south side of LA. But, yet, along this always-busy highway, you can find an oasis of peace and joy. Near the hills of Bel Air, you can find the Getty Center, a free museum with amazing art, wonderful gardens, and spectacular views over the city.
And at Amuze, we just released our highlights audio tour of the Getty Center. Just like the museum, it is free and will make your visit to the Getty even more enjoyable. Available on Android and iOS, the tour will take you on a journey through time and across the world. You will start in the Renaissance by a magnificently-colored work by the Italian Mannerist painter Parmigianino. After leaving the Renaissance behind, you will become witness of the magnificent Baroque portraits by two of the best portrait painters ever, Frans Hals and Rembrandt. The tour continues with works by some of the all-time greats, including Jacques-Louis David, J. M. W. Turner, Manet, Renoir, and Van Gogh.
Strolling through the Getty Center is a wonderful experience. Unlike most other museums, you are not staying inside for several hours. When moving from one building to the next building, you are confronted with spectacular views of Los Angeles, you will walk outside on the plaza where you can admire the wonderful architecture of the different pavilions, and you can take a stroll through the gardens where you can admire a variety of uncommon plants, flowers, and sculptures. All far away from the busy city below you.
And in the meanwhile, our tour will take you from an extravagant regatta in Venice, to Turner’s Romantic view of the Roman Forum, to a surreal scene in Brussels by James Ensor. A visit to the Getty Center can really give you a feeling of vacation and relaxation, even if you do it in between some work. And it offers a variety of beauty, such that almost anybody will find something to admire.
You can be the judge on what you like most. If you have visited it already or will visit it in the future, let me know where you can find the best flowers. In one of the wonderful gardens, in the painting Jeanne (Spring) by Édouard Manet, or in the Irises by Vincent van Gogh?
Today, we officially launch the Amuze app. It is available in the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store for Android. The app offers professional audio guides for some of the best art museums in Europe and North America. As of today, tours are available for the Legion of Honor Museum, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Metropolitan Museum of Art National Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Prado Museum, Uffizi Museum, and the Vatican Museums. You can try it out for free to see if this is something that you would like to use on your next museum visit.
The app offers several advantages to the museum visitor:
The National Gallery in London is in the top 10 of most-visited museums in the world. The reason for its popularity is that it has an incredible collection of art, and it, no doubt, helps that the museum has free entrance. Amuze has now a self-guided audio tour available of the highlights of this museum. In about one and a half hour, you will be able to enjoy ten masterpieces ranging from the 14th-century Wilton Diptych to Paul Cézanne’s Bathers painted around the turn of the 20th century.
The Highlights Tour starts with a magnificent mythological painting by a relatively young Titian. Bacchus and Ariadne captures a lot of drama and emotions in a single painting. While Ariadne is left by her lover Theseus, her future lover and husband Bacchus arrives and proposes to her. The splendid colors of Titian and the exotic followers of Bacchus add to the excitement of this painting.
The Prado Museum is one of three magnificent art museums in Madrid. It is the oldest one and has art ranging from the 12th till the early 20th century on display. There are a lot of great works inside. We have made a selection of the highlights for you, and we created engaging audio content so that you can truly enjoy those works. The tour is available in the Amuze app.
Two of the absolute highlights in the Prado Museum are Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez and the works by Hieronymus Bosch, most noticeably The Garden of Earthly Delights. But before you arrive to those masterpieces, there are some wonderful works that we recommend you to see. The museum has one masterpiece by Caravaggio, which is David with the Head of Goliath. It is the third version he created on this topic and is one of the last paintings he created during his life.
The Amuze app has introduced a new tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. After the highlights tour of the Vatican Museums, it is the second tour available in Vatican City. So, now you can use our app to combine your tours for both iconic places.
The tour of St. Peter’s Basilica is full of works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, starting with the elliptical St. Peter’s Square with its magnificent four-column wide colonnades. If you find the two foci of this elliptical square, indicated by two marble disks of the floor, something magical happens. Instead of seeing four rows of columns on each side of the square, you will only see a single row of column as all columns perfectly line up.
We developed a new audio tour for the Amuze app, this time for the National Gallery of Art. As part of the Smithsonian, this museum is free, and it has an amazing collection of paintings and statues. Another great thing about this museum is that they offer a free audio guide. However, we still decided to develop our own tour for this museum as everyone’s taste for art and audio differs. Our tour offers three potential advantages over the audio tours provided by the museum.
We have added a highlights tour of the Musée d’Orsay to the Amuze app. Now, on your trip to Paris, you can combine a visit to the Louvre Museum with a visit to the Musée d’Orsay the next day!
The Musée d’Orsay has the best collection in the world in terms of French Realist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist art. It is close to the Louvre, and both museums have a very different feel. Whereas the Louvre is big and busy, the Musée d’Orsay feels relatively small and much less chaotic. You can still easily spend a full day there without having time to see everything in detail, but the museum is clearly organized, and you don’t easily get the feeling that you are lost.
The tour starts with Realism art on Floor 0. There are fantastic artworks on display by some of the leaders of this movement, including The Gleaners by Millet and the enormous paintings of The Artist’s Studio and A Burial at Ornans by Courbet. As you make your way through the rooms on this floor, you will also come across some of the early works by Manet, like his famous Olympia. And, of course, it is impossible to miss the impressive sculpture gallery in the center, where a diverse set of sculptures is visible in natural light.
We are excited to announce that the Amuze app is now available in beta for iOS and Android. After a successful alpha test with friends, it is now time to share the app with a larger audience. Alpha testers indicated that the app works great but had some practical suggestions on how to make the app and its content more user-friendly. We have worked on implementing these changes and are confident that the app is now ready for a larger audience!
One of the available tours in the Amuze app is a Highlights Tour of the Louvre, the most-visited museum in the world. While the Louvre is an amazing museum if you know what you want to see, it is also easy to get lost in the incredible amount of art that is on display.
If you visit the museum for the first time, you probably should have a look at the most famous artwork in the world – the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. And how about some of the paintings of the French Romantic painters, and the ancient Greek statues, and some masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Vermeer? And then you can see Egyptian art, a large collection of French sculptures, Spanish paintings from the Baroque period, etc. By now, you must already spend a full day at the Louvre, and then you are still missing many unique pieces of art.
Eelco is on a mission to make you enjoy your museum visits more. He loves to share good stories about art.