Vatican art galleries

There’s nothing quite like losing yourself among the halls and exhibitions in one of the world’s many art galleries. Whether you’re looking to gaze your eyes upon iconic works of art or discover something completely new, you’re sure to find something that’ll grasp your attention.  

No matter if you’re a die-hard art enthusiast or looking to dip your toe into the art world, these are our top 10 art galleries that we think you ought to visit at least once. 

 

The Van Gogh Museum 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Van gough museum, amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh produced nearly 900 paintings and more than 1,100 works on paper during his lifetime, and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum showcases the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work. Opened in 1973 in the center of Amsterdam, it now holds over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters, including iconic paintings such as ‘Sunflowers’ and ‘The Bedroom’. Alongside van Gogh’s original work, the gallery also includes pieces from his contemporaries, giving viewers context of his style, as well as work from those influenced by van Gogh.  

Read more: A work of heart: meet the founder of the Rosengart collection

Whitney Museum of American Art 

New York City, USA 

the whitney museum exteriorYou’ll find the Whitney Museum of American Art, often referred to simply as “The Whitney”, in New York City. Founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a wealthy and influential art patron and sculptor, the museum focuses on 20th and 21st-century American art, with a particular emphasis on living artists. The Whitney’s collection includes more than 25,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs, created by over 3,500 artists, with notable names including Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Edward Hopper. Make sure to visit one of its many terraces for unparalleled views of the city. 

 

The National Gallery of Art 

Washington D.C., USA 

The National Gallery of Art  Washington D.C., USA 

One of the premier art museums in the United States, the National Gallery of Art was established by an act of Congress in 1937, made possible by a gift from financier and art collector Andrew W. Mellon. Explore the two main buildings: the imposing, columned West Building, where you’ll find works from the 11th through the early 20th century such as “Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son” by Claude Monet; and the modern East Building which houses a growing collection of contemporary art, not forgetting the Sculpture Garden. 

Read more: The Luxury Gold guide to discovering statement art pieces on your travels

Vatican Museums 

Vatican City, Italy 

Vatican Museums  Vatican City, Italy 

Known the world over, the Vatican Museums were founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, beginning with a single sculpture: ‘Laocoön and His Sons’. Spanning a collection of art galleries, chapels and museums within Rome’s historic Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most renowned features, particularly for its ornate ceiling painted by Michelangelo. 

 See it on our Luxury Italy tour

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

New York City, USA 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art  New York City, USA 

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (commonly known as the Met) isn’t just where the prestigious Met Gala is held each year – it holds over 2 million pieces of art work spanning 5,000 years within its walls, featuring artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, and Michelangelo. The Met first opened in April 1870 in the historic Dodworth Building, but was moved to its current location on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street in 1880. Its purpose upon founding was to bring art and education to the American people, something that hasn’t changed. 

Read more: Why Spain Sets the Gold Standard for Art Museums

The National Gallery 

London, England 

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, England 

Located in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is a treasure trove of Western European art, housing an extensive collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It was founded in 1824, when the British government purchased 38 paintings from banker and art collector John Julius Angerstein. It wasn’t until 1838 that the current building, designed by architect William Wilkins, was opened to house the growing collection. Currently the gallery holds over 2,300 paintings, notably including masterpieces by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. 

See it on our Luxury England tour

The Picasso Museum 

Barcelona, Spain 

The Picasso Museum  Barcelona, Spain 

The Picasso Museum is unique in that its namesake had a hand in founding it. The museum opened its doors in 1963, a joint effort between Pablo Picasso itself (before he died in 1973) and Picasso’s close friend and secretary, Jaume Sabarté, making it one of the first museums dedicated to Picasso’s work. Picasso donated many of the pieces that are housed there today, and it now boasts a collection of over 4,000 of his works by Picasso, taking visitors along his development as an artist from the early years to his Blue Period, and beyond.  

 

Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, USA 

Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles, USA 

The Getty Museum opened its doors in 1997, making it relatively new on the scene. The art gallery is known for its unique architecture as well as its collection, sitting high on a hilltop overlooking L.A. – you can access the museum through a cable pulled hovertrain from the parking garage at the foot of the hill. The Getty Museum has a remarkable collection of artwork which includes the works of Vincent Van Gogh including the famous painting Irises, Monet and Cezanne. As well as an art gallery, the site also houses a research institute and a conservation institute. 

 

Uffizi Gallery 

Florence, Italy 

Uffizi Gallery  Florence, Italy 

The origins of the Uffizi Gallery, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were slightly less exciting than you might expect, as it was originally built in the 16th century as administrative offices (or ‘uffizi’) for the Florentine magistrates. Gradually, its upper floors were converted into a museum to display the Medici family’s extensive collection of art, who were ruling at the time. Visitors can take in an extraordinary collection of Renaissance and Baroque art, with works by some of the most celebrated artists in history – most notably, Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’.  

 

The Musée du Louvre 

Paris, France 

The Musée du Louvre  Paris, France 

Holding the title as the most visited museum in the world with over 7 million visitors each year (based off numbers from 2022), the Musée du Louvre is world-famous for housing Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. But the Louvre also takes the title of ‘biggest’ museum, clocking up 400 rooms across 650,000 square feet – even if you spent just 30 seconds in each room of the Louvre, it would take 100 days to visit the museum in its entirety. It began as a fortress in the late 12th century to protect Paris from potential invasions, and the Louvre’s association with art and culture only began in the 16th century thanks to François I, an art collector who brought the ‘Mona Lisa’ to the museum. It wasn’t until the “Grand Louvre” projec in the 1980s and 1990s that te iconic glass pyramid entrance was constructed, completed in 1989. The Louvre now houses nearly 380,000 works of art.  

 See it on our Luxury France tour

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 

New York City, USA 

the MoMA museum, new york

Last but certainly not least we have the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the most influential and renowned art galleries in the world. It was founded in 1929 by three patrons of the arts: Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The goal was to establish an institution devoted exclusively to modern art, and MoMA has played (and continues to play) a major role in developing and collecting modern art, often considered one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of modern art in the world. Catch some of the most iconic pieces in the world at MoMA, such as Vincent van Gough’s ‘The Starry Night’, Andy Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’, and Salvador Dalí’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’. 

Discover an incredible array of art and culture on a Luxury Gold tour. Explore our trips here.

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Written by Jess Williamson
Jess is an experienced writer and editor, with 6 years' experience working within the whisky industry. Her work has taken her to Scotland and beyond, while her personal travel highlights include backpacking around Vietnam with her sister, trips to California, Madrid, and the Greek islands.