The beauty of art: where the web comes in to its own

Here is Scotland we are lucky to have a wide range of fabulous art galleries to visit.  This does not, however, stop me drooling over the thought of visiting other leading galleries around the world.

We will be staying in Paris for a week later this year and are already planning to visit le Louvre, le Musée d’Orsay, le Centre Pompidou, le Musée Marmottan, and le Musée de l’Orangerie.  How marvellous is that!  Advance thanks to Hub for indulging so wonderfully my passion for art.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other ways to get an art fix.  I was delighted to learn about the latest initiative from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has recently expanded its open access policy.  Images of all the museum’s works of art which it considers to be in the public domain have been digitised for unlimited use.  Spectacular!

One of my favourite painters is John Singer Sargent.  Indeed one of my all time favourite paintings is his portrait of Lady Agnew – I wrote about one of my encounters with her on my other blog here.

He is well known for society portraiture.  Here is another of his most famous works which I have seen ‘in person’ a couple of times:

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)

Browsing the Met’s online collection, I came across a completely different side of Sargent’s work: beautiful pencil sketches and watercolour landscapes.  Here are just two examples:

View from Mount Pilatus, John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Schmadribach Falls (from Switzerland 1870 Sketchbook), John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)

Here is another picture, this time by Ingres, which I could examine for hours.  My mum and I love looking at ‘fabric in art’ – this one is perfect.  If you click on the image, it takes you to the Met’s site, where you can zoom in on all the detail – delicious!

Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn (1825–1860), Princesse de Broglie, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)
Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn (1825–1860), Princesse de Broglie, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)

How magnificent it is to be able to unearth all these treasures with just the click of a mouse, while in the comfort of one’s own home.  The rise of worldwide technology has some drawbacks – such easy access to news we don’t really want to know about, for example.  But these are wholly outweighed by the many benefits.

The Met is not the first to take this step – there are plenty of other galleries with digital collections.  Why not take a look at the National Gallery of Art‘s site.  And our very own National Galleries of Scotland is in the process of creating its online collection, which you can see here.

Meanwhile, to The Met, I say bravo! 🙂



21 thoughts on “The beauty of art: where the web comes in to its own

  1. Wonderful! I love the way we can visit a gallery and browse through their collection without getting back-ache! Years ago before all this internet business I used to buy my husband CDRoms with collections of art on them. He had been to the USSR in the 80’s and often waxed lyrical about some of the paintings he had seen in The Hermitage so I got the CDRom! Since my visit to the V & A last year I’ve been looking at their site and finding and having another look at all the objects I saw on my visit. So exciting! I love fabric in art too! Those exquisite portraits of Elizabeth I with all those pearls sewn onto her dress and that gorgeous embroidery!


    1. Oh my goodness Clare – what a blast from the past. I had one of those CD-Roms too – I think it was for the Louvre, but can’t remember now. All those things seemed so advanced at the time, didn’t they. Who knew where it would all lead. And those Elizabeth I portraits – a perfect example. We have some stunning royal paintings in the Scottish National Portrai Gallery (as is the case in London’s Portrait Gallery of course) – I could spend hours looking at them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only just had the chance to read your blog properly, Liz, and it is a good one! You are right. It is a great initiative that the Metropolitan has undertaken and the Ingres painting is stupendously beautiful. Two thoughts on that. Where was that painting at the ‘fabric in art’ exhibition that we saw and despised so much (but then we always say that) and why don’t we get to wear such fabulous fabrics as that day to day? (she says keeping warm and cosy in her knitted cardigan! Was it warmer then?). Beautiful art though. Sorry to lower the tone! X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was delighted about the MET, too 🙂
    I’m also having enough Aberdeen Art Gallery being closed for renovations. I’m sure it will be great, it’s been about a year now, they are putting a whole new floor on it, but I miss my rainy weekday day-off mornings mooch arounds, followed by a trip to the tea and gift shop. I feel like banging on the closed door and shouting ‘Sanctuary! Give me sanctuary!’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny – I can just imagine it. Will look forward to a trip to Aberdeen in due course…. And we will have the delights of the new Dundee V&A to savour soon. We are so lucky in Scotland to have actual access to all this fabulous art, as well as getting our online fixes. 🙂


  4. Given that it would take WEEKS to get thorough the Met and see things properly, this internet access to their work is wonderful! I think our taste in art must be kind of similar–I completely love Singer Sargent and that Ingres is a favorite, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Recently, I have been settling down for a cup of hot chocolate with episodes of Bob Ross, what a relaxing way to spend time. I’ve never been to a real art gallery, I feel like an uncivilised lout now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob Ross – what an icon of the art world – I love him!!! I had never thought of using his programmes as a stress-reliever – thanks so much for the suggestion. And as for visiting galleries, I suppose it depends whether you want to in the first place. If not, that’s fine. If you would like to, there’s plenty around to see, wherever you happen to be. If nothing else, I find that galleries are often the location of the best cafes. I spend lots of time in our national gallery cafes reading, people watching and just chilling – perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Galleries sound even better now, I shall go and read there. There a sense of tension I find with Bob, he’ll be painting away and then dump some colour on and it looks ruined but then he makes it look amazing and he keeps doing it…it’s amazing. Never gets old


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