Beautiful paintings, magnificent sculptures and antiquities that take your breath away! Art Museums are not just places that hold major artwork. They are designed with a cultural purpose and are a window to a rich heritage. The following is a curated list of the World’s most famous Art Museums. They are also the ones that receive the highest number of visitors every year. So, here is the list, in no particular order.
The list of famous art museums around the world would be incomplete without the mention of the iconic Louvre museum in Paris. The worlds’ largest museum, and most visited, it opened in August 1793. It boasts of an unparalleled art collection with over 380,000 objects and 35,000 displays of artwork. The most remarkable among these are paintings like Leonardo da Vinci’s famed ‘Mona Lisa’ and Rembrandt’s ‘The Supper of Emmaus’ and sculptures like ‘Venus de Milo’ and ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’. It also houses various artifacts of Islamic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Islamic origins.
This museum was established in 1753 and was based on eminent physician and scientist, Sir Hans Sloane’s collections. It was opened to the public in 1759. Over the years the collection of the museum has changed drastically, with the books and manuscripts being transferred to the British Library. It is Britain’s largest museum today. Noteworthy exhibits include ‘Ice Age Art’ and ‘Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’. Also, worth mentioning is the fine collection of Egyptian antiquities including the Rosetta Stone, carved in 196 B.C.
The National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and largest museum in Australia. The museum’s impressive art collection is spread over two sites – NGV International and Ian Potter Centre – NGV Australia. As the names suggest, the former houses artwork from around the world whereas the latter has Australian artwork. The international collection boasts work by renowned artists like Bernini, Turner, Monet, and many others. The Australian collection has works by Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, John Russell and others.
The State Hermitage is the second largest museum in the world and was founded in 1764. It was opened to the public in 1852. It has a collection of over 3 million objects, out of which only a small number is on display. It owns the largest collection of paintings in the world. It also houses Egyptian and Classical antiquities, Prehistoric art, and Italian and Spanish fine art. The Italian Renaissance Galleries house works by artists like Titian and Veronese among others. It also has a considerable collection of French, German, British, Swiss, and of course, Russian art.
This art museum in Central London houses paintings dating back to the mid-1300’s to 1900’s. It opened to the public in May 1824. It’s modest collection of 38 paintings collected by John Julius Angerstein, grew over the years and now has over 2,300 paintings. It houses the famous ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ by Turner and Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. It also has various works by Michaelangelo, Monet, and Raphael.
This National museum was established in 1937. It has a good collection of European and American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. It has works from the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance. The most remarkable among these are ‘Adoration of the Magi’ by Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico and Giovanni Bellini’s ‘The Feast of the Gods’. It also has several works by Titian and Raphael. It has Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Ginevra de’ Benci’, which is the only work by the master in the Americas.
This museum mainly houses Spanish art. The major attractions include some outstanding works by Spain’s great masters Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The most famous masterpiece is Picasso’s ‘Guernica’. Other artists whose works are displayed in the museum are EduradoChillida, Pablo Serrano, Juan Gris, and many others.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or ‘Met’ as it’s popularly known, is the largest museum in the United States. It has a permanent collection of over 2 million items. This extensive collection includes American and modern art, classical and Egyptian antiquity. It also houses various objects of African, Asian, and Islamic art. The Met has works by almost all of the well-known European masters. Noteworthy artwork includes ‘Bacchanal’ by Bernini and a magnificent chariot known as the ‘Monteleone chariot’.
Visiting the Vatican Museum, with its immense collection is a rich, cultural treat. Situated within the Vatican City, this museum has a vast collection accumulated over the years by different Popes. The museum has 70,000 works of art, including the most famous classical sculptures and paintings. Out of these, 20,000 are displayed. The paintings include those by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini. The museum also has a fine collection of important statues like ‘Sleeping Ariadne’ and ‘Barberini Candelabra’
This Dutch National Museum was established in 1800 in The Hague and was moved to Amsterdam in 1808. The museum has a vast collection of over 1 million objects collected from 1200 to 2000. Out of these, about 8,000 works are on display and include artistry by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals. It also has a small collection of Asian art.
It is one of the most important Italian museums and houses a collection of exquisite works from the Italian Renaissance. The Uffizi, established in 1581, is a popular tourist attraction. The prominent artworks include Fra Filippo Lippi’s ‘Madonna and Child’ and ‘Coronation of the Virgin’, Michelangelo’s ‘The Holy Family’, and others.
A modern art gallery located in London, is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. It houses the national collection of British works of art from 1900 to the present day. It also holds collection of international modern and contemporary art. The permanent collection includes works by Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee.
Learn more about visiting the Louvre Museum: