Though wandering the galleries of the Louvre in person is a hard-to-beat experience, most people can’t pop over to Paris on any given weekend. Furthermore, the museum can only display a fraction of its hundreds of thousands of artworks at any given time.
With an internet connection, you can now see them all whenever you want and wherever you are. As Smithsonian reports, the Louvre recently launched a new online database that houses its entire collection of more than 480,000 pieces. That number also includes all the art from the Musée National Eugène Delacroix, sculptures from the Louvre’s Tuileries and Carrousel gardens, and works from the National Museums Recovery program. Items in this last category were looted by Nazis and reclaimed by France after World War II, and the Louvre has been working to reunite them with their rightful owners.
The database, which experts will update on a continual basis, offers access to artworks on display, in storage, and on loan to other institutions. You can look for something specific in the search bar, or you can explore by category: paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, jewelry and finery, writing and inscriptions, and objects. Several themed albums (e.g. “The Art of Portraiture” and “Major Events in History”) can help guide you along your virtual journey, and there’s even an interactive map of the Louvre, so you can see what’s being showcased at the moment.
"Today, the Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known. For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free,” Louvre president-director Jean-Luc Martinez said in a press release. “I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person.”
The Louvre is still closed due to COVID-19, so the new online hub is currently the only way to view those collections. To help you daydream about a future trip, it’s worth checking out the museum’s website, which has also been revamped to be more comprehensive and user-friendly.