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Untangling the Web: Virtual Art Museums

Untangling the Web

Angelika Pagel, Visual Arts
February 15, 2000


National Gallery of Art, D.C. Superb site! Downloading/navigating the site is very fast. The site provides thumbnail pictures as well as full-screen images - and the accompanying texts are very informative. You can search by artist, title or subject-matter, or you can embark on online tours, collection tours, in-depth study tours (f.ex. on Mark Rothko, Thomas Moran, Alfred Stieglitz or Jackson Pollock) and virtual exhibition tours (which require plug-ins). There is also always a tour of the week (last week's tour was on African-American artists).

a. Virtual Exhibition Tour: Alexander Calder

b. A search by the name of your favorite artist and/or art movement (i.e. Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism etc.)


State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Great site. You can browse by categories (such as Paintings, Textiles, Jewelry etc.), you can do a quick search by typing in the name of an artist, for instance, to get an overview of all available works by an artist, or you can do an advanced search "to find artwork by artist, title, subject or by certain attributes such as style, genre, theme or date."

a. Advanced Search by subject (i.e. portraiture, landscapes, vanitas etc.)


Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. This site allows you, for example, to create your own metgallery, selecting from the available images.

Go to the site index. Click on Modern Art. Choose Max Beckmann. View "10 images at a time". Options available at this point: thumbnail, enlarge, add to my gallery, description. Click on online resources: this will get you to a page with more museum links which you can access right from that page !!! (To provide you with further links is common practice.)

I suggest you explore the following sites on your own:


Webmuseum, Paris (in English). This is just one of countless Internet-based museums, all part of the WebMuseum network (I am approaching this site somewhat in a roundabout way: from the Paris Webmuseum site you can switch, by simply clicking, to "your closest site of the Webmuseum network" in order to improve "the speed of data access" which, in our case, is a California site ... but you may want to stay with the Webmuseum, Paris and explore, for instance, its famous paintings collections. Also, if you want to access an extensive list of links-to-links-to-webmuseums, simply go to the yahoo! search site, type in webmuseums and you will (as of last week) get a list of 85 more links (including, for instance, "WebMuseum of Latinamerica - virtual visit to Latin American museums".


n Internet-based museum, collaborates "with the world's leading museums and exhibitors" to present high-quality online exhibitions. The most recent one, done in collaboration with SFMOMA, "provides an overview of ... media-based artist Bill Viola", a very fascinating contemporary artist whom I recommend highly.


The NOK Museum (Internet-based only). Provides slide-shows, though no descriptions.


If you are interested in Public Art, this site provides you with countless links to Public Art websites that display images (quality varies) of Public Art. Though unfortunately Utah has no Public Art to speak of (yet), there are 29 links to sites throughout the Unites States, including, for example, "Murals in California" or "A Walking Tour of Public Art in Tempe, Arizona".


If you are interested in late 18th/early 19th-century printmaking, this site is worth visiting. All of Goya's famous prints from his series Los Caprichos are available in almost full-screen images. The English version of this site is still "under construction", (though the index to the 80 images is in English), but you really don't need to know Spanish to enjoy Goya's prints.


Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Navigate the best museum in the United States for modern art (late 19th but mainly 20th century art), including a great collection in the history of architecture and design.


National Galerie, Berlin (which consists of several museums). Extensive online collection.

Exercise: Click on "English" (I assume). Click on "Indians of North America". Click on the region you want to explore (for example, "Southwest"). You will be able to see high-quality images, with very brief explanations, of superb examples of Southwest Indian art.

Many more museums may be found via Yahoo: Arts-Museums

Updated March 13, 2009 . Please send comments to Angelika Pagel
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