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Although sometimes a visit in person is necessary to get the full impact of a piece, many art galleries have scanned their pieces for the wider viewing public and general art education via the web. If you are looking to find some great classical artworks online, look no further than these free online art galleries.
The Web Gallery of Art is an absolutely tremendous collection of art featuring European paintings and sculpture from 11th to mid-19th centuries. You can browse art in several ways: by artist, search or a ‘gallery’ mode which groups paintings by time period and styles. This is a great gallery for anyone looking for Renaissance artwork from the masters, but specifically from Italy and surrounding areas.
Don’t be put off by the simplistic design of this site. Olga’s Gallery includes over 10,000 images of art arranged by artist and movement. Olga focuses on European and Russian art but does have resources from other countries. Their newsletters are also a good learning resource as it educates the reader about a certain aspect or movement along with examples of that type of artwork. A good example is Michelangelo whose artwork is well represented on this site.
The Artchive is another site that has dated design but awesome resources. You can view by style or artist or search the entire archive. The Artchive offers paintings from a wide range of time periods all over the globe. One of the things I like the best about this site is how each artist and image is indexed by style, and also the galleries which are laid out much like a physical one. Paintings have detailed explanations which go far in describing the history behind the art and artist.
Orazio has a comprehensive collection of fine art available from his website. The website is split into 2 parts – the first is an index to other sites around the internet surrounding information on an artist. The second is a gallery where the image is hosted in high quality on the website. I found the links to be rather spammy (opened up to a sponsor website most of the time) however the galleries seemed to be of high quality.
The Artcyclopedia, true to its name, is a compendium of resources for art. Artists are listed by name and you can also search by title or browse by style. One thing that I really like about this website is that it is less euro-centric than many of the other sites, featuring art from other areas of Asia – specifically Japan.
Art is Everywhere!
Without sounding too corny, art is simply everywhere. Art is by definition subjective and what is artwork to someone might seem like trash to someone else. These galleries are a great way to view the ‘great classics’ but you can find art everywhere if you keep your eyes open.
Let us know if you have any other great online resources for free online art galleries. There are tons of art galleries around the world that offer exhibitions online – too numerous to mention in an article such as this. “Art Gallery Online” brings about 104 million hits from Google – that is a great place to start!