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Virtual museums and music streams: Culture for coronavirus confinement

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A South Korean tourists wearing a protective face mask walks in front of El Prado museum in Madrid on March 12, 2020
A South Korean tourists wearing a protective face mask walks in front of El Prado museum in Madrid on March 12, 2020   -   Copyright  GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP
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If you're on a coronavirus lockdown, you might be looking for new ways to entertain yourself.

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested reading books, but what about when you start yearning for culture beyond your four walls?

Fear not, there’s a world of art, history, and music accessible online.

Here is a selection of European museums where you can take your own online private tour, and concerts you can stream from home.

Museums and art galleries

Museums have closed around the world to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but their websites are still open. Instead of visiting museums in real life, why not go and see some art online?

Dozens of renowned museums around the world offer virtual tours of their collections online. You could admire the Mona Lisa or discover the treasures of the Vatican museum from your couch, at any time and without crowds of tourists!

Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca contains one of Italy’s biggest collections of Italian paintings, including masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio and Modigliani.

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery

Admire the details of Botticelli’s Spring, follow the steps of Roman emperor Trajan through sculptures dating back from his reign, or take a virtual stroll through time in the Room of Saturn, with prints and photos of the gallery from the 16th century to our era.

Rome’s Vatican Museum

From Egyptian to Gregorian Etruscan to contemporary art, this museum contains several museums! You could spend days learning about their collection.

Athens' Archaeological Museum

More of a Zeus than a Jupiter fan? Then the archaeological museum of Athens is for you: from vases and ceramics to metalworking and sculptures, you can feel like you’re on top of the Mount Olympus in just a few clicks.

Madrid’s Prado

Like reading the Bible, but on magnificent medieval panels, canvas and frescoes instead of a book.

Paris’ Louvre museum

You can take a virtual tour of the most famous rooms, thanks to the site’s interactive option. Mona Lisa is not this museum’s only treasure - it has something for everyone, from mummies to the Venus of Milo to 19th century paintings.

London’s British Museum

From India to China to the Americas, art from all around the world is displayed at the British Museum. The website’s “virtual galleries” offer HD photos of the artworks as well as a lot of information about each room, artist and collection.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum

The Met’s “digital digest” curates a selection of videos, articles, information on painters and art practices, and offers family activities and downloadable catalogues as well as virtual reality tours of the collections.

Washington’s National Gallery of Art

As well as detailed information on the collections and exhibitions, the museum’s website has various online learning opportunities, audio and video recordings of lectures by artists and curators, and even iPad games for children.

Google Arts and Culture

Always wanted to learn about every crazy detail of Bruegel’s masterpieces, climb architect Zaha Hadid’s first internationally acclaimed project in 360°, or go inside a space shuttle station in virtual reality? Google Arts and Culture offers hundreds of virtual tours, virtual reality visits and 360° views of the world’s greatest art pieces, buildings, museums, music venues, and more.

Live concerts and operas

More of an opera rat than an art fan? Many concert venues and operas across Europe, having shut their doors, have decided to stream classical orchestras and operas for free online.

Vienna State Opera

Falstaff, Peer Gynt, Romeo and Juliet, Tosca… Vienna’s State Opera is streaming world-renowned operas every day this week.

Malmö Live Concert Hall

From the music of geniuses Mozart and Mendelssohn to the Persian New Year Norouz, Malmö Live is offering plenty of musical celebrations online for free.

Berlin’s Philharmonie

The Philharmonie has made access to its Digital Concert Hall free for everyone. Listen to a Beethoven evening or to Mahler’s Second Symphony live, or access its concert and film archive.

Bavarian State Opera

Munich’s State Opera will be holding “Monday concerts” every week until 13 April, and it’s free. Access to online live streams of its next operas and ballets is free, too, and the programme includes Hans Abrahamsen's The Snow Queen, Bartók and the world premiere of Marina Abramović's 7 Deaths of Maria Callas.

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