Top Five Art Sites for the Armchair Art Aficionado
I think we can all agree that this cold weather is just hanging about too long and we all really need to do some flash mob sun salutation to lure back the sun god Ra. If someone please ask Olafur Eliasson to bring back The Weather Project this week at the Tate, then I'd be more than pleased to go out and see a good art exhibition – artificial sunlight and all. But laziness plagues a dampened spirit and** my best friend these days is none other than my armchair**.
Manet, Lichtenstein and Man Ray can all wait (great exhibitions around the city)- but here are some sites that you need to see when it's just too cold to go out. At least, you don't need to shell £15 to see some great masterpieces (and in your pyjamas!)
The Nation's Oil Paintings from The Public Catalogue Foundation
See how the PCF catalogued 211,880 oil paintings (http://vimeo.com/user6663908)
With 211,880 oil paintings online, this site is a goldmine for discovering UK's public art collection. Your Paintings is a joint initiative between the BBC and the charity Public Catalogue Foundation with the participation of museums from across the UK. Most paintings on this site are part of a museum's public collection that are not on public display at the moment (some are being repaired or conserved or being moved around for other exhibitions) so it's a great way to familiarise yourself with paintings that you won't probably see when visiting an actual museum. Your Paintings also includes guided tours from not just artists, art critics or experts but also by a more diverse bunch of people like actress Sue Johnston or Michelle Ackerleywho is a children's TV presenter. The site is also interactive – you can create your own personal collection and can also tag paintings!
Top 4 must-see:
- 39 paintings from Paul Cezanne
- 131 paintings by Canaletto
- 35 paintings by Edgar Degas
- 112 paintings by Rembrandt
The Google Cultural Institute has 42 online exhibits about the major events of the 20th and 21st centuries. The historical collections are great online educational resources – and rather than boring us to death with texts, the site is interactive – and very true to Google's philosophy of putting "the user experience" above all else – there are great photos that you can swipe with ease. That's how Google does it even for culture.
Top 4 must-see:
- Anne Frank – Her life, her legacy, her diary
- Apartheid Signs
- Nelson Mandela – The Prison Years
- The Fall of the Berlin Wall
Aside from these historical collections, we all know about The Google Art project which was originally launched in 2011. By now, the collection has arrived at 184 and still growing. Aside from seeing high-resolution photos of some of the world's best artworks, you can also view that same artwork with a view from the gallery option which makes you see it as if you're in the museum itself.
Top 4 must-see:
- 73 artworks from the Uffizi Gallery
- 654 artworks from the Dulwich picture gallery
- 151 artworks from the Van Gogh museum
- 4751 artworks from the Korean Art Museum Association
Called "the YouTube for the Arts", Art Babble is a project initiated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art but content comes from more than 51 art organisations and museums like the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the National Portrait Gallery or even the Rice University of Art. The site is eclectic – there are artist interviews, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and curator talks. It is also easy to navigate: the menu is divided into themes, medium, period and style, location, popular and new so it's not overwhelming for a first-time visitor. Some of these videos are also in YouTube but with Art Babble, you save a lot of time browsing and looking for these videos.
Top 4 must-see
- 192 videos about Being an Artist
- 227 videos on Inspiration
- 166 videos on Learning to Look
- For Educators
Seems like a very obvious choice but there's really a wealth of information with the videos and audio clips from Tate especially because the content is very much tied to their own exhibitions. You can find all these clips on the Menu "Context and Comment" on the Tate homepage – a taxonomy that is a little bit confusing (should be renamed to something like 'Media or Multimedia' perhaps?). Nevertheless, you can spend a lot of time just watching and scouting for artist interviews like Gerhard Richter, and Damien Hirst – the list of the mega-artists goes on…
Top 4 must-see