The iconic French museum has made its collection of over 480,000 pieces available to the public for free through a new online platform. Besides marquees such as the ‘Mona Lisa’, you can browse lesser-known works from collections at the Louvre’s eight departments, the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, and Tuileries Garden all from your smartphone.
It may be a while before you can spend a Parisian afternoon strolling through the Louvre, which is currently shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still marvel at its exquisite masterpieces as long as you have an internet connection. The iconic French museum has made its collection of over 480,000 pieces available to the public for free through a newly launched online platform. The website showcases artworks from collections at the museum’s eight departments, ranging from Islamic art and Renaissance sculptures to Egyptian antiquities and paintings from artists all over the world. The archive also includes the collections of the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix and the nearby Tuileries Garden, as well as Nazi-looted artwork from the National Museums Recovery program which the museum is currently trying to return to their rightful owners.
“Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known. For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free,” Louvre president-director Jean-Luc Martinez said in a statement. “I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person.” We know it’s not the same as being able to witness these gems in person, but this way you get to skip the endless queues of admirers of the ‘Mona Lisa’ or ‘Venus de Milo’. Plus, according to ArtNewspaper, only 30,000 pieces of the museum’s collection were previously available for visitors to view.
The elaborate database, which is continually being updated, is neatly divided into sections such as paintings, sculptures and textiles. There are also several themed albums, like ‘The Art of Portraiture’ and ‘Masterpieces of the Louvre’, and an interactive map that shows you what’s currently on display at the Louvre, which are helpful if you’re not sure where to start digging into the vast collection. You can also use the search function if you’re looking for something in particular—results can be filtered according to date of creation, the collection the work belongs to, where the work is located, category of work, and artist/maker. Each piece has been laboriously catalogued and includes a physical description and details on its ownership, history and current location.