Welcome to the Gallery - WGA

Welcome to the Gallery!

The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of European fine arts, decorative arts and architecture from the 3rd to 19th centuries. It was started in 1996 as a topical site of Renaissance art, originated in the Italian city-states of the 14th century and spread to other countries in the 15th and 16th centuries. Intending to present Renaissance art as comprehensively as possible, we later extended the scope of the collection to show its Medieval roots as well as its evolution to Baroque and Rococo via Mannerism. Encouraged by the feedback from users, we set up sections for decorative arts and architecture. Furthermore, we increased the scope of the collection to include Early Christian and Pre-Romanesque art and architecture of the 3rd-10th centuries. Finally, we covered 19th-century art, extended to the beginning of World War I. We do not intend to present 20th-century and contemporary art.

The collection has some of the characteristics of a virtual museum. The experience of the visitors is enhanced by guided tours helping to understand the artistic and historical relationship between different works and artists, by period music of choice in the background and a free postcard service. At the same time, the collection serves the visitors' need for a site where various information on art, artists and history can be found together with corresponding pictorial illustrations. Although not a conventional one, the collection is a searchable database supplemented by a glossary containing articles on art terms, relevant historical events, personages, cities, museums and churches.

The Web Gallery of Art is intended to be a free resource of art history primarily for students and teachers. It is a private initiative not related to any museums or art institutions and not supported financially by any state or corporate sponsors. However, we do our utmost, use authentic literature and advice from professionals to ensure the quality and authenticity of the content.

We are convinced that such a collection of digital reproductions, containing a balanced mixture of interlinked visual and textual information, can serve multiple purposes. On the one hand, it can simply be a source of artistic enjoyment, a convenient alternative to visiting a distant museum, or an incentive to do just that. On the other hand, it can serve as a tool for public education both in schools and at home.

You can conduct your visit a number of different ways, namely by

  • browsing the collection from the alphabetic list of artists giving basic information on artists. Visitors can create their own lists by setting conditions for nationality, stylistic period and time-line,
  • using the Dual-Window Mode which allows to run simultaneously two independent copies of two collection for more effective browsing and comparison,
  • using the Wide-Screen Mode, a presentation designed to make use of the advantages provided by large screen surfaces,
  • using the Quick Search boxes at the bottom of the screen, or the full-featured Search Engine to find individual or selected groups of pictures, or
  • selecting a tour from the Guided Tours.

To get a quick glimpse of the method of presentation used in the Gallery, you can view 20 pictures selected at random from the entire collection, or another 20 pictures selected by using a random word as search criterion. By following the links you can get practical information on the technical, legal and other aspects of visiting this site, and a summary of What's new in the Gallery.