The Best Virtual European Museum Tours, Part I


Have you ever visited a museum and found that looking at a masterpiece for too long makes the security guys nervous, as if you were a potential threat? If so, no worries—the pandemic is the ideal time for you to play out your voyeuristic wishes without feeling guilty or funny at all. Many museum websites offer virtual tours and masterpieces in HD quality.

We’ll take you on a two-day virtual tour through the best European museums and present our very own fourteen highlights. Let the tour begin!

MadridThyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

The ThyssenBornemisza National Museum is one of the most inviting museums in the world. It has treasures from the 14th century to the 20th in its collection. You will find, among others, names like Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Caravaggio and Edward Hopper. The best thing: The highlights of the collection are presented in brushstroke quality or even in gigapixel!

Highlight No.1: Vittore Carpaccio

Our heart starts thumping when we open this masterpiece: Young Knight in a Landscape by Vittore Carpaccio (1510).

Vittore Carpaccio

It can take a while until it is loaded, but then … boom! Here it is! We can see every brushstroke and even pigment corn of this painting. Young Knight in a Landscape was attributed to Dürer until 1919 and is one of the earliest examples of a full-length portrait in European painting. Carpaccio (1465–1525/1526) was a painter of the Venetian school and studied under Gentile Bellini.
There is a disturbing fascination that evolves while watching the painting’s allusions to good and evil: the young knight, dressed in armour and about to unsheathe his sword, and the landscape, with its meticulously executed flora and fauna.

Vittore Carpaccio

Take a look at the left lower corner, where there is a scroll stating, ‘I prefer to die rather than to incur dishonour’ (malo mori quam foedari)—truly a bold statement from an artist.

Vittore Carpaccio

Highlight No. 2: Rembrandt

After looking at every pore of the knight, we strongly recommend visiting the temporary exhibition ‘Rembrandt and Amsterdam Portraiture, 15901670’. The museum has released an interactive publication dedicated to Rembrandt as a portrait painter, a genre in which the most important Dutch painter of the 17th century also reached his greatest expression. A nice feature is the Spotify playlist suggested by curator Norbert E. Middelkoop (Amsterdam Museum).

Rembrandt at Thyssen-Bornemisza

Highlight No. 3:  Cristobal Balenciaga

And as a last station here, we take a look at the virtual tour ‘Balenciaga and Spanish Painting’.

The museum presents an exhibition that connects the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga with the tradition of 16th- to 20th-century Spanish painting.



The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Highlight No. 4: Frank Ghery

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the most iconic museums in the world ironically, not because of its collection, but because of its daring architecture designed by Frank Ghery. In 1995, Aitor Ortiz documented the construction of the building. This is a small selection of the thousands of images that he shot.

Bilbao Guggenheim


The Uffizi Galleries

Highlight No. 5: Hall of the Dynasties and the Galleries of Sixteenth-Century Venetian Painting

Finally, we are in Italy, under Hypervisions’ the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, offering a 360° view of the Uffizi's Hall of the Dynasties and the galleries of sixteenth-century Venetian painting. Those halls were restored and opened in 2019 – it’s definitely worth putting your VR glasses on here.

Highlight No.6: Federico Barocci

Federico Barocci (1535–1612) was an Italian Renaissance painter and printmaker. His work was highly esteemed and influential; it foreshadows the Baroque work of Rubens.
At the virtual exhibition The Creative Process Behind Federico Barocci's Drawings, you can track the connection between the different creation stages and methods of figure construction in his work.


Michelangelo Doni Tondo

Highlight No.7: Michelangelo Buonarroti

We stick with Google Arts & Culture, taking a look at Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo (1506–1508). This work is the only finished panel painting by the mature Michelangelo to survive. Michelangelo was born in Caprese to a well-esteemed family. Against his father’s wishes, he aimed to follow his divine purpose of becoming an artist when he was only a young boy. After a severe dispute, his will, finally, won over his father’s pride, and Michelangelo became a paid student in Domenico Ghirlandaio’s atelier.

For us, the Doni Tondo is the symbol of a man who knew what he wanted to accomplish in his lifetime. He was ready to push the boundaries of his abilities further and further and wasn’t afraid of sharing his gift with the world. 

Tour stations at a glance:

Highlight No.1: Young Knight in a Landscape by Vittore Carpaccio 

Highlight No. 2: Rembrandt and Amsterdam Portraiture, 15901670

Highlight No. 3:  Balenciaga and Spanish Painting

Highlight No. 4: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Frank Ghery 

Highlight No. 5: Hall of the Dynasties and the Galleries of Sixteenth-Century Venetian Painting

Highlight No.6: The Creative Process Behind Federico Barocci's Drawings

Highlight No.7: Doni Tondo by Michelangelo Buonarroti

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