Top 10 Best Art Museums In The World
Art museums are the most important cultural institutions preserving history, displaying humanity’s creativity, and providing unique insights across cultures and identities. Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection. The best art museums in the world have become destinations in themselves. Being home to the vast majority of the world’s most valuable paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, these famous art museums are a chest of knowledge, providing a unique chance to navigate through the history of creative expression throughout the ages.
1. Musee du Louvre
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 72,735 (782,910)
Established in: 1792
The Musée du Louvre in Paris, founded during the French Revolution as the Muséum Central des Arts, is one of the world’s largest and most visited museums. Encompassing some 400,000 pieces, the permanent collection of the museum is divided into many chronological and thematic sections, grouped into nine departments: Decorative Arts; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Islamic Art; Paintings; Prints and Drawings; Sculptures; and Architectural Views.
The original core of the collection was based on artworks acquired over time by the Kings of France, which comprised several masterpieces of European art, including the works brought to France by Leonardo da Vinci.
2. Vatican Museums
City: Vatican City (Rome)
Country: Vatican City
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 43,000 (460,000)
Established in: 1506
The museum complex is one of the oldest and most visited in the world. The museums are actually part of the Vatican City but, in practice, they can be considered part of the city of Rome.The building complex includes galleries, gardens, chapels and decorated spaces, such as the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms.
Estimated to have more than four million visitors annually, the Vatican museums feature the art of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and, of course, Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
City: New York City
Country: United States
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 58,820 (633,100)
Established in: 1870
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest and most popular art museum in the United States. With more than two million items from around the world, dating from antiquity to present, it’s almost impossible to view all of the art that this museum has to offer. Some definite must-see masterpieces include Jaques Louis David’s The Death of Socrates (1787), Claude Monet’s The Water Lily Pond (1899), Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Harvesters (1565), and the Vermeer collection in Gallery 632, since there are only 36 known surviving paintings by Johannes Vermeer, and the Met has five of them.
4. J. Paul Getty Center
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 33,445 (360,000)
Established in: 1953
J. Paul Getty Center features works of art dating from the eighth through the twenty-first century, showcased against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The collection includes European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, Asian, and American photographs.
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Malibu features Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities presented in a setting modeled after a first-century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy.
5. Musee d’Orsay
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 1200 (12,916)
Established in: 1898-1900
This stunning museum in Paris is now home to some of the most renowned 19th and 20th century artwork, including works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, and van Gogh. If you’re a fan of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, put visiting this museum on the top of your to-do list. Edouard Manet’s Olympia (1863), Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (1889), and Paul Cézanne’s The Cardplayers (1890-1895), are just a few of the iconic works in the museum's collection.
6. Uffizi Gallery
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 12,913(139,000)
Established in: 1581
The Uffizi Gallery, in Florence’s Historic Center, is a gem of a museum, and a treasure trove of many of Italy’s greatest artistic masterpieces. This magnificent complex houses some of the world’s most beautiful works from the 1300s and from the Renaissance. It is one of the most famous and most-frequented museums on the globe, beloved for its precious collections of paintings and ancient statues.
A tour of the grand halls of the Gallery is a discovery of one marvel after another: Classical sculptures, tapestries, furnishings and, above all, “miracles” in painting (art that spans from the 1300s to the Renaissance, up unto the 1700s).
7. Art Institute of Chicago
Country: United States
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 26,000 (280,000)
Established in: 1879
The Art Institute of Chicago is home to the greatest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, including works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh. Explore the Renzo Piano¬–designed Modern Wing and its extraordinary collection of works by Chagall, Dalí, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock.
8. Tate Modern
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 1920 (20,670)
Established in: 2000
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world.
9. Prado Museum
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 21,832 (235,000)
Established in: 1819
The Prado Museum, which commemorated its 200th anniversary in 2019, is the crown jewel of one of the city’s most popular tourist itineraries: the Paseo del Arte, where you'll also find the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía museums. Its collection comprises 8,600 paintings and over 700 sculptures. Prado Museum is most famous for its assortment of works from Spanish artists such as Goya, Velasquez, Murillo, and El Greco.
10. National Gallery of Art
City: Washington, D.C.
Gallery space in square meter (sq. ft): 1,139 (12,260)
Established in: 1937
The National Gallery of Art is comprised of an east and west building, and features a sculpture garden surrounding a large fountain. Modern art fans should head to the east building, where works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol are displayed.