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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday April 21, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

From Bikes to Jumping Jacks – Celebrate Europe’s art history the digital way

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Ministries of culture and cultural institutions from 28 European Union countries, plus Norway, have collaborated with digital culture platform Europeana, to identify 300 works of art that have helped define Europe’s art history.

From Paul Gauguin’s Femmes de Tahiti to the Sălciile de la Chiajna Willows at Chiajna by Romanian Ștefan Luchian, the Europeana 280 collection brings together iconic and unique, famous and lesser-known works - all of which have contributed to European art movements from Renaissance to Cubism. This unique collection is available online as part of a campaign to enable people across Europe to engage with their art heritage and to demonstrate our shared European roots.

Europe’s Culture Ministries were invited to work with their museums, galleries and libraries to choose at least 10 works of art that have contributed to Europe’s art history as part of the Europeana 280 campaign.

Jill Cousins Executive Director of Europeana said:

‘Through the Europeana 280 campaign, Culture Ministries and 158 cultural institutions from across Europe have brought together a collection of more than 300 paintings, drawings, photographs, posters, illustrations, sculptures and other objects telling a unique story of how Europe’s art heritage has evolved over time.

Everyone can now discover and celebrate these treasures online by getting involved in the #Europeana280 campaign through social media, related apps, or in person through a series of virtual reality events and digital installations across Europe from April to November 2016.”

A virtual exhibition Faces of Europe showcases over 100 items from all 29 countries taking visitors on a journey with artists through the centuries, exploring a changing Europe through their works and role in society. The ‘Europeana 280’ collection can further be explored and enjoyed online via Europeana Collections, through apps DailyArt and ArtStack and the new Europeana colouring app based on works in the collection CREATE as well as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest using #Europeana280.

And it’s not just online that you can experience the Europeana 280 collection - people will also have the chance to interact with them in public spaces across Europe.

#BigArtRide is a virtual reality event touring ten cities across Europe - The Hague, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Rome, London, Berlin, Prague, Wroclaw, and Bratislava - celebrating the Dutch Presidency of the EU. Two participants in squares in different European cities (one Dutch, one elsewhere) will put on virtual reality headsets, get on their bikes and race together through a virtual city that they populate with artworks from Europeana 280 along the way. Members of the public can help or hinder their progress by using oversized bells and pumps while the race is broadcast on large screens in both city squares.

In museums and galleries in other cities across Europe, digital installations – Jumping Jacks - combining art with interactive technology and moving, dynamic human bodies will let participants project their own body transformed by cut-outs from the Europeana 280 artworks onto walls and ceilings, - creating their own unique, moving artworks.

Europeana 280 is supported by the European Commission as part the development of Europeana. It is also part of a celebration of the launch of the new Europeana Art History Collections, which introduce the public to artists and artworks from across the whole of Europe, from the cave painters of Altamira to the Surrealists, and from ancient Roman sculpture to modern design.

155 of the pieces of art chosen by Europe’s museums, libraries and galleries to share through Europeana 280 have been made available under open licences that allow re-use, whether that’s for enjoyment, or for use in research, education or new designs, apps or services.

Learn more about the decision-making process behind each country’s submissions in an ongoing series on the Europeana Pro blog.


Notes for editors


Europeana is Europe's digital platform for cultural heritage, collecting and providing online access to tens of millions of digitized items from libraries, archives, audiovisual collections and museums across Europe. It opens up access to over 50 million digital records from over 3,500 heritage organizations in 35 countries. These collections represent great thematic, language and media variety, from books, photos and paintings to television broadcasts and 3D objects. Europeana encourages and promotes the creative re-use of these vast cultural heritage collections in education, research, tourism and the creative industries.

For more information please contact:

Eleanor Kenny :

Imogen Greenhalgh