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Watch: Largest US Art Museum Takes You on Virtual Tour to 18th Century France

Video grab of the art gallery in USA. 
(Credit: IG/ @metmuseum)

Video grab of the art gallery in USA. (Credit: IG/ @metmuseum)

From French salons to parlours (formal sitting and eating areas) to royal-looking bedrooms with a cave-like canopy; this display has it all.

When you think of 18th-century French décor, a very distinct image comes to mind. Gilded furniture, pastel colours with splashes of reds and greens, and very rich fabrics. If you are interested in this period’s décor and themes and styles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the largest art museum in USA) is just the place for with The Wrightsman Galleries.

Despite the interest, you may not be able to actually go to the MET, due to the pandemic and the fact that it will be ridiculously expensive to fly out there. But fear not. The official Instagram handle of the museum has uploaded a video that will take you to the MET and in turn, to an 18th-century royal French palace.

The video is captioned “Silent Gallery Tour—The Wrightsman Galleries.” It is a very high-quality video of each of the exhibits in the Museum's French decorative arts collection. They are called “period rooms” as each depicts a bygone era with the décor and style.

The video opens with the gallery entry with “Wrightsman Galleries” sign. Then the camera moves to an ornate hallway where multiple rooms can be accessed along the way.

From French salons to parlours (formal sitting and eating areas) to royal-looking bedrooms with a cave-like canopy; this display has it all. In just over six minutes, you can travel through two centuries of French art history in a way.

The walls have crown mouldings and cornices, with embroidered pillars and wallpapers. Sometimes the camera pans to the display’s name, allowing the viewer to get more information about what they are looking at. Eg in the Lanzum Room where the viewers can read the signage on how the structure was acquired by a French Baron in the 1770s.

There are authentic lighting systems like candle-based chandeliers and ornate candelabras as suited to that time period. According to a 2007 NYT article, the display has been designed in a way to mimic natural light. They give you the illusion of day and night and fresh, natural light when inside.

The place is designed with the utmost care.

The museum called this virtual tour as “time-travelling” and “globe-trotting” adventure. The showcase is curated by the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts (ESDA) at the MET. While most of the artefacts are original, some have been reconstructed. There are a total of six such period rooms in the museum.

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It has been viewed over 50,000 times since the initial upload. People have flooded the comment section with positive reactions. Some requested for more virtual tours like this as it can be a great upliftment during these times. Other simply left notes like “stunning” and “amazing” under the video.


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