The Louvre Museum has recently launched its collection online. This is an enormous feat, and a commendable gesture in these pandemic-affected times where tourism and museum viewing are restricted.
See the collection here:
The Louvre collection online is a good initiative. It has its problems: photographing Art is difficult (even for professionals), it is not yet possible to search by style, and many listed works are not viewable due to formatting or other technical problems. The website will surely improve with time. What strikes me in particular is the collection itself, which has many iconic works, but which also unexpectedly lacks many works and deserving artists considered to be important in retrospect. Of course, the collection is also based upon the art and economic politics at the various times — especially pertaining to then actual breakthrough artists painting in styles that were considered controversial in their particular time. But as an art historical aide the initiative is invaluable — also regarding which artists were “accepted into the collection”, and those who did not gain entry. I guess it is the same in each era, the social, political, and economics play a much larger role than merely a museum acquisitions board’s intuition regarding which artists and works might be considered iconic over time.
For me it is refreshing to see so many collected works of lesser importance, especially those where the artists were clearly still experimenting with both styles, techniques and themes before achieving their final transformative iconic styles. This gives me much perspective regarding their artistic process and personal artistic development. It also confirms my own intuitions regarding collections in art museums not always being stocked solely with the best works by famous artists, and the fact that criteria for selection and curating are additionally based on both posthumous celebrity and the introduction of new and yet historically unproven contemporary works — this as well as acclaimed masterpieces.
I am not certain that I would have it any other way. The presentation is also refreshingly “honest”, including for example the inclusion and presentation of works stolen by the Nazis and others.