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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
North American online gallery opens
Arizona desert
The exhibition focuses on the North American landscape
A virtual art gallery showing more than 300 exhibits from America, Canada and Mexico has gone online.

The exhibition is celebrating the North American landscape, and features works by some of the leading artists from the three countries.

The name of the gallery is Panoramas, because it was one of the few words that means the same thing in English, Spanish and French.

You can go in your pyjamas in the middle of the night and have a wonderful time

Elizabeth Broun
Smithsonian Art Museum
It is part of the newly-opened C$75m (33m) Virtual Museum of Canada, which brings 600 museums across the country together on one site.

It is subtitled The American Landscape in Art and pictures relate to the mythical, social and evolving landscapes in the three countries as well as the physical landscape.


The images are accompanied by 30,000 words of text to describe and explain them.

The advantage of a virtual gallery is that you can access the art from anywhere, at any time, according to Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who was responsible for the US portion of the project.

"You can go in your pyjamas in the middle of the night and have a wonderful time," she said.

One exhibit in the Mythical section is the mural Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which depicts the settlement of the American far west by German-American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.

The paintings come from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, The Winnipeg Art Gallery and Mexico's Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.

The American State Department gave $70,000 (49,000) to the project, and the total cost to the three countries is said to be well under $1m (698,000).

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