If you’ve taken a vacation to explore the art scene of any region, then what hits you the most is the form it takes. From paintings hanging on the walls to the architecture of the building enclosing them; from the stage of the renowned theatres to the art on the walls lining the streets leading to them, from historical masterpieces to its modernist counterparts, art at the art capitals not only leaves you awestruck, these exotic masterpieces leave you spellbound by spurting at every nook, cranny and even a wrong turn. TraveLibro cites some of the must-visit cities of the world for art aficionados.
New York, USA
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The magnificence of the masterpieces in the museums and galleries here almost call out to you and so does the eclectic street art fiercely adoring the walls. Together, it’s quite overwhelming. For those with a classier taste, head to some of the finest museums in the world, such as, The Met, which is only rivalled by Louvre when it comes to the size and quality of its collection. Explore the Museum of Modern Art that houses the likes of Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’, the Metropolitan Museum of Art that is one of the biggest in the world, and more! Guggenheim Museum hosts Picasso, Kandinsky and others, and is also an architectural wonder, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Head to Brooklyn in particular for some stunning doses of street art, and to Chelsea to explore some 500 plus galleries! You could spend a lifetime here without the art ever running out!
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Florence is every traveller’s fantasy, who is looking for a magical experience and finds it here, inevitably, in not just art but in every stone of the city and that its palaces are made of. Hometown of Michelangelo and the birthplace of Renaissance art, it promises to stir the soul of every enthusiast. The famed Uffizi Gallery hosts the likes of ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli; you can discover Michelangelo’s work (including ‘David’) at the Academy Art Gallery and more Renaissance art at the Gallery of the Spedale degli Innocenti. With masterpieces by Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, you are sure fall under the spell the city casts on you.
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From the curves of the architecture and the mesmerising modulations of the musical notes, to the strokes by the masters long gone, even weeks fall short for an earnest art explorer in Vienna. Soak in the essence of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Velásquez, Raphael, and Titian at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Explore the world’s largest collection of Klimt paintings at The Belvedere or head to the Museum Quarter for several museums such as The Architekturzentrum Wien for architecture, Leopold Museum for Viennese masterpieces and more. And when it gets too overwhelming, let your hair down with the nightlife along the Danube Canal, while admiring its brilliant graffiti display. Or, experience one of the many concerts the city hosts, having nurtured Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and local boys Schubert and Strauss.
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From classics to modern, from fashion to architecture, London spells art in every way. First, there are the obvious must-do’s — the British Museum and the National Gallery hosting the likes of da Vinci and Van Gogh. Standing in striking contradiction is the modernist Tate Museums; explore pre-Raphaelite art at the Tate Britain and meet Picasso, Dali, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Matisse, and Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern. Take another step ahead in time at the outrageous Saatchi Gallery, discover French art at the Wallace Collection or head to the Design Museum for industrial architecture, design and graphics. From such classics to downright contemporary, London caters to every art lover’s taste.
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Spend a few hours in Rome and you’ll know that art here isn’t bound in museums and galleries, but is the reigning power of the city. From the most famous masterpieces by the legends, art crawls out to take over the buildings, casually meets you at the baroque fountains and haunts the ruins of palaces. 2,500 years of history comes strikingly alive at the Vatican Museums with antiquity, Renaissance and modern religious art with the works of Picasso, Gauguin, and Chagall. The famous Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s ceiling frescos is found here. Discover Bernini and Raphael at the Galleria Borghese; Roman sculptures at Centrale Montemartini and statues and mosaics at Palazzo Massimo. It’s criminal to miss Basilica di San Pietro with work of Raphael, Bramante and Maderno under the Michelangelo-designed dome. And then there is more — the National Gallery of Modern Art, National Etruscan Museum, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, and others.
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The unique essence of Berlin’s art scene is what defines its beauty. It’s intriguing to watch the ancient masterpieces looking over like an elder brother, over the younger, contemporary art that is confident, fierce and trying to find its foothold. To get a taste of the former, head to the Island of Museums hosting Byzantine art, the diverse collection of sculptures at the Bode Museum and much more. Dahlia Museum houses exotic art from South Seas, Africa, Asia, Native American, and others. Dip your feet into the art essence here ranging from Botticelli to Rembrandt at the Gemäldegalerie. While the Neue Nationalgalerie hosts more recent works by Max Beckmann, Munch, Picasso, Ernst, and Klee, if contemporary is your scene, explore the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. Also traverse the streets where the street art lovers will find their nirvana.
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What happens when romance meets art? Beauty, love and controversy; and that’s what defines the art scene in this legendary city too! While the great Louvre needs no introduction (two words: Mona Lisa), it also hosts treasures of Middle Eastern and Egyptian art. That, and Musée d’Orsay, with impressionist art by Cézanne, Renoir, Manet, Monet, and Van Gogh, spell a classic beauty. You’ll fall in love at the smaller galleries such as the Musée Picasso and Musée Marmottan Monet too. Talking about controversy, head over to the Central Pompidou for some taste of modern art and form an opinion about its controversial architecture! From the Eiffel to a petite café by the street and every Parisian walking the length of them, all are truly nothing short of art themselves.
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Kyoto is a striking example of how mesmerisingly, ancient and modern times co-exist on the city’s streets and even find ways to blend in together. The Kyoto National Museum and the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art hold exhibitions that ooze traditional art. For a more contemporary art scene, head over to Imura Art Gallery or eN Arts. Find smaller galleries at the Teramichi Shopping Arcade and the comic enthusiasts will find their Mecca at the International Manga Museum. The times truly come together with the city’s design scene where artists at the Japan Handmade constantly push the traditional boundaries and ensure the final products look authentically Japanese.
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Medieval castles, rich museums, churches brimming with historic paintings, and home to three Nobel writers, it’s easy for one to imagine Krakow as the mystic silver-haired creature with infinite knowledge. But it’s not all historic and the Main Square with street performers zinging out a youthful Bohemian vibe will tell you just that. Soak up the essence of da Vinci or Rembrandt at the Czartoryski Museum or dive into the local art scene at The Gallery of The 19th-Century Polish Art the Sukiennice, Stanisław Wyspiański Museum, Józef Mehoffer Museum, and Jan Matejko Museum. UNESCO declared Krakow as the City of Literature in 2013 and hence, attending some of the 30 book festivals that it hosts in a year, is a must.
The mystic temples, tombs of pharaohs, city of the dead separated by modernism by the river Nile, Luxor offers art with a feel of mystery. If something embodies brilliance, then it is the Luxor Museum housing collection of antiquities dating from the end of the Old Kingdom right through the Mamluk period. You must also visit the hypostyle Temple of Seti I and temples of Luxor and Karnak, the reason why it’s called anthe ‘open-air museum.’ Valley of Kings is where the pharaohs from New Kingdom era are buried. Luxor’s legendary antiquity lures travellers from across the world!
Next trip you take, explore any or at least a couple of them and revel in the vibrant and multifarious art scene they exude.