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Whether you’re trying to stay safe and healthy or are just wanting to relax indoors this autumn, there are many reasons you may choose to stay at home this month. It is unlikely that most of us will be able to travel to international institutions of culture in the near future. If we’re lucky, we might be able to visit a local museum or two!Did you know that you can view art collections from France, Spain, Italy, England, and more, right from the comfort of your own couch? With Google Arts & Culture, you can explore museum collections, architecture, and culture without even leaving your own home.Treat yourself to an at-home “outing” or plan a virtual date with a new love interest! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Play Around With Self-Portraits & Virtual Reality
If you have the opportunity to download the Arts & Culture app, tap the photo icon in the bottom center of the app. From here, play around with photos of yourself and your surroundings. Take photos from your phone’s camera roll and transform them using stylistic filters to make them resemble historic works done in various iconic styles. Take an open-mouthed selfie and make your own version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Turn a beach photo into a replica of The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Make your partner look like an Andy Warhol painting or a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo.If you’re willing to laugh at yourself, consider trying out the “Art Selfie” tool. Take a picture of yourself and see which historical portraits you most closely resemble! Don’t be surprised if you’re told that you look like a dapper 17th century gentleman, or a disgruntled-looking old dowager!
If your phone supports them, the “Art Projector” and “Pocket Gallery” virtual reality features are impressive, too. With the projector, you can “project” artworks into your own living space and view them at their actual size on your phone screen. By using the “Pocket Gallery,” you can tour 3D spaces and examine their art and architecture. Visiting the Chauvet Cave, for instance, will allow you to see a virtual representation of cave art that is over 30,000 years old. Though these tools are ultimately just for fun, they can be an interesting way to learn more about famous artwork and the artists behind them.
Travel Through Time
Are you in the mood to study a little world history? Click on the “Historic Events” tab and explore an era that you’ve always been fascinated by. Look at photos from World War II, the Russian Revolution, or the Victorian era. Use photos and art to discover more about a historical event or era that you know little about, too. What do you know about the Russo-Japanese War, the Suez Crisis, or the Spanish-American War? Discover these historical events through artwork and historical photography.
If you’re curious about a particular individual, select the “Historical Figures” tab instead. Here, you can explore photos, art, and documents surrounding a wide range of historically-significant people. Many are political leaders, including presidents, queens, kings, and other important international figures. Scroll through photos of JFK or explore a visual history of Mahatma Gandhi’s pacifist career. If you’re a fan of photo archives, you’ll enjoy exploring history through the visual resources on Google Arts & Culture.
Enhance Your Artistic Knowledge
When visiting a museum in real life, you’ll likely have to unfold a map and trek through a number of galleries before finally finding the collection you’re most interested in seeing. Google Arts & Culture, however, makes it easy to jump right to the artist or artistic movement you most enjoy. Click on the “Artists” or “Art Movements” tab to explore your favorite artist or artistic style on a deeper level. Look up Vincent van Gogh and zoom in on the brushstrokes of hundreds of his most iconic paintings. Read through Google’s stories about van Gogh’s life and his work. Some stories explain the meanings behind specific pieces, offering a sort of digital guided tour for given works of art.
In a similar manner, you can explore a particular artistic movement. Are you a fan of modern art? Explore nearly 20,000 pieces in Google’s collection. Do you prefer the beauty of Renaissance masterpieces? Instead of visiting Italy, enjoy a collection of nearly 15,000 works from the comfort of your own couch. Whether you’re a fan of pastel Rococo paintings or experimental Bauhaus-style designs, you can find what you’re looking for without ever stepping foot inside a museum.
As with visiting a museum, you just might discover a new favorite work of art where you least expect it. Simply explore the Google Arts & Culture app or website and browse through its many categories. For a truly immersive experience, consider selecting one of Google’s 360-degree, 4K videos to explore somewhere you’ve never been before. Zip around India, explore the inside of a space shuttle, discover more about Coco Chanel’s iconic black dress, or watch a dinosaur come to life inside of a natural history museum.
Has it been too long since your last vacation? Use “Street View” to travel the world! Take a 360-degree tour inside the Museo Frida Kahlo to get a taste of the artist’s works in her native country. Visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia and take an interactive tour of the facilities while learning more about the history of the sport. Take a virtual walk around the Taj Mahal, Versailles, or the Great Pyramids of Giza. Take a look around Anne Frank’s home or admire Banksy’s street art in London. If you’re feeling curious, you can travel around the world in an entire day! With Google Arts & Culture, you can get a better look at these places than ever before.
Though nothing can beat the experience of traveling to another country and visiting world-renowned museums in person, Google Arts & Culture offers the next best alternative to actual vacationing. In addition to the suggestions listed above, there are many more resources worth exploring, from interesting articles to musical museum tours. Whether you’re looking to go on an interesting long-distance date or are simply hoping to discover a new favorite work of art, Google Arts & Culture is a web portal worth visiting.