One of the joys of traveling the world is the art you get to see. You take a sneak peek of those beautiful art museums in movies or TV shows, but apart from the most widely known ones, the majority of us don’t know that much about art museums.
But if you are traveling somewhere in the world, you might get the chance to visit one of the greatest museums in the world, so you better get ready for that moment. Here are the 5 most frequented art museums in the world, and the things you must know about them.
Musée du Louvre is by far the most famous art museum in the world. Located in Paris, it is also the largest art museum in the world, and a central landmark of the city. The museum is inside de Louvre Palace, built between the 12th and 13th century under the Philip II, originally intended to be a fortress. Inside can be found many art pieces, but perhaps the most well-known is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
In 2016 it was the most visited art museum in the world, with 7.3 million visits. Even with those numbers and taking the number one spot that year, the Louvre experienced a fall in its visits, mainly due to the decrease in tourist visits to Paris following the recent attacks.
Located in New York, “the Met” as it’s called colloquially, is the largest museum in the United States, and the second most visited art museum in the world, with 7 million visits in 2016. The main building is located in Central Park, and is by area one of the largest galleries in existence.
The museum was first opened in 1872 on February 20, in a 681 Fifth Avenue building. Its first president was a railroad executive named John Taylor Johnston; whose personal collection was the start of the museum. The building is owned by the City of New York, but a group of 950 benefactors own the collections.
The British Museum is located in the Bloomsbury area in London. It falls in third place with 6.4 million visits during 2016, and it contains one of the largest and most diverse collections in existence, with 8 million works.
The museum opened for the first time to the public on January 15, 1759, and it was based originally on the collections of the British Physician Sir Hans Sloane. This collection of curiosities contained about 71,000 objects of different types and from all over the world.
The British Museum, due to its wide variety of objects taken from other countries, is often the target of criticism. Specialists debate on whether or not museums should contain objects from other countries, and when talking about this subject, this museum is always brought up.
Also located in London, this time Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, the National Gallery comes in 4th place with 6.26 million visits in 2016. The collection is owned by the British government, and the visit to this main collection is free.
In 1824, the British government bought 38 paintings from an insurance broker named John Julius Angerstein. After that, the collection has been expanded by private donors, which have comprised two thirds of the entire collection, and by its early directors. Some notable pieces of art from the collection are Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks and Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
Musei Vaticani are a number of art and Christian museums that are located inside the Vatican City. With 6.1 million visits in 2016, they take the 5th and last spot on this list. The works on display were amassed by the Popes throughout the years, and they contain some of the most popular and acclaimed sculptures and pieces of Renaissance art, including the famous Sistine Chapel with the ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
The Museums were founded in the 16th century by Pope Julius II, originating from the purchase of the Laocoön and His Sons, a marble sculpture. Since then, the many different Popes have expanded the collections, and the Museums turned 500 years old on October 2006.
Here are more museums you should consider visiting: