Whether you’re an art aficionado, or simply love a good gallery hop, there are some places you simply just can’t miss. Art lovers will probably already know the classic destinations, but with a world of breathtaking art to explore, they are just the beginning.
The classic three
Think great art and there’s a good chance you’ll think Paris, London and New York. Paris can satiate an art lover’s appetite in a heartbeat. The Louvre is the world’s best known museum, but you’d be remiss in leaving this great city without also visiting the Musee d’Orsay (home to the great Impressionists), Musee de l’Orangerie (Monet’s waterlily series), Pompidou centre, Musee du Quay Branly (dedicated to non-European cultures) and the Rodin and Picasso museums.
In London, get your classic fill at the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Courtauld Institute of Art (one of the city’s gems with iconic 19th century works), Wallace Collection, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. And in New York, the Guggenheim (housed in the landmark spiral building), the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) are the big three.
As with Paris and London, the city is also a buzz with smaller museums and galleries offering the classic to the cutting-edge.
Once you have covered the classic three, there’s a lot more to discover.
In Spain, Barcelona is Gaudi’s city, and you can visit his incredible architectural creations including Caso Battlo, the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia basilica (considered to be his masterpiece) and Park Guell. Madrid has a trifecta of renowned galleries including the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza with artists such as Bosch, Brueghel and Picasso lining the walls. And in the country’s north, the small city of Bilbao has an atmospheric historic quarter and the Guggenheim Bilbao, a stunning titanium creation by architect Frank Gehry.
Rome is full of galleries and museums and of course The Vatican. Its extensive art collection is astounding. Consider that it includes frescos by Raphael and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, and it’s clear why it is a mecca for art lovers.
It has Michelangelo’s sculptural masterpiece, David, and it has the Uffizi gallery, home to works by Botticelli, Uccello, Giotto, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio and della Francesca. Add palaces and museums, and Florence ticks all the creative boxes.
Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s great museums with breathtaking works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Goya. Other Amsterdam highlights include the Van Gogh Museum dedicated to the artist and his peers; and the Stedelijk, a contemporary museum with an astounding collection of modernist art by European and American artists including Malevich, Matisse, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Warhol.
Berlin is both a city infused with history and abuzz with contemporary art and culture. Museum Island in the city centre houses an astonishing five world-renowned museums including the Pergamon, with highlights of its stunning antiquities including the Pergamon Altar and Babylonian Ishtar Gate.
The American capital is well-known as the US political hub, but it’s also home to a number of amazing museums. At the National Gallery of Art, you can view the only Leonardo da Vinci work in the western hemisphere, and the Smithsonian is not just one but a complex of 19 museums.
The world for art lovers
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