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Top 10 Museums

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, built by Ferrovial, and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. It is built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Atlantic Coast. The Guggenheim is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The museum features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture, the building has been hailed as a “signal moment in the architectural culture”, because it represents “one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something.”The museum was the building most frequently named as one of the most important works completed since 1980 in the 2010 World Architecture Survey among architecture experts.

www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus

Museo del Prado, Spain

The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture, it also contains important collections of other types of works. A new, recently opened wing enlarged the display area by about 400 paintings, and it is currently used mainly for temporary expositions. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and it is considered to be among the greatest museums of art. The large numbers of works by Velázquez and Francisco de Goya(the artist more extensively represented in the collection), Titian, Rubens and Bosch are among the highlights of the collection. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents. By 2012 the Museum will be displaying about 1300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works are on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder are in storage.

www.museodelprado.es

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, andhistory. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection ofAsian art. It also displays the stern of the HMS Royal Charles which was captured in the Raid on the Medway, and the Hartog plate. The museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit the collections of the Dutch stadtholders. It was inspired by French example. By then it was known as the National Art Gallery. In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam on the orders of king Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. The paintings owned by that city, such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, became part of the collection. The Rijksmuseum Research Library is part of the Rijksmuseum, and is the best and the largest public art history research library in The Netherlands. From 2003 until 2013 the Rijksmuseum will be restored and renovated based on a design by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. Many of the old interior decorations will be restored and the floors in the courtyards will be removed. During the restoration and renovation process only about four hundred of the one-million piece permanent collection are on display in an exhibition called The Masterpieces in the already renovated “fragment building,” nowadays called the Philips wing.

Museums in Amsterdam

www.rijksmuseum.nl

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway

The Viking Ship Museum is located at Bygdøy in Oslo, Norway. It is part of the Museum of Cultural History of the University of Oslo, and houses archaeological finds from Tune, Gokstad (Sandefjord), Oseberg (Tønsberg) and the Borre mound cemetery. The main attractions at the Viking Ship Museum are the Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship and Tune ship. Additionally, the Viking Age display includes sledges, beds, a horse cart, wood carving, tent components, buckets and other grave goods. Many fully or nearly fully intact Viking ships are on display. Its most famous ship is the completely whole Oseberg ship.

www.khm.uio.no/english/visit-us/viking-ship-museum/

Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The Uffizi Gallery is a museum in Florence, Italy. It is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world. Building of the palace was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates — hence the name “uffizi” (“offices”). Construction was continued to Vasari’s design byAlfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and ended in 1581. The cortile (internal courtyard) is so long and narrow, and open to the Arno River at its far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space without blocking it, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe. Over the years, further parts of the palace evolved into a display place for many of the paintings and sculpture collected by the Medici family or commissioned by them. According to Vasari, who was not only the architect of the Uffizi but also the author of Lives of the Artists, published in 1550 and 1568, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo gathered at the Uffizi “for beauty, for work and for recreation.”Today, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), waiting times can be up to five hours. Visitors who reserve a ticket in advance have a substantially shorter wait

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (colloquially The Met), located in New York City, is the largest art museum in the United States with among the most significant art collections. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided among nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan’s Museum Mile, is by area one of the world’s largest art galleries. There is also a much smaller second location at “The Cloisters” in Upper Manhattan that features medieval art. Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine, andIslamic art. The museum is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met’s galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens. The founders included businessmen and financiers, as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day, who wanted to open a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, and was originally located at 681 Fifth Avenue.

www.metmuseum.org

British Museum, England

The British Museum is a museum in London dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some eight million works, is amongst the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of intense controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin. Until 1997, when the British Library (previously centred on the Round Reading Room) moved to a new site, the British Museum was unique in that it housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee.

www.britishmuseum.org

Il Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) or “Il Vittoriano” is a monument built to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. The monument was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885; sculpture for it was parceled out to established sculptors all over Italy, such as Leonardo Bistolfi and Angelo Zanelli. It was inaugurated in 1911 and completed in 1935. The monument is built of white marble from Botticino, Brescia, and features stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The structure is 135 m (443 ft) wide and 70 m (230 ft) high. If the quadrigae and winged victories are included, the height is to 81 m (266 ft). The base of the structure houses the museum of Italian Reunification. In 2007, a panoramic elevator was added to the structure, allowing visitors to ride up to the roof for 360 degree views of Rome.

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Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), located in The Domain in Sydney, New South Wales,Australia, was established in 1880 and is the most important public gallery in Sydney and the fourth largest in Australia. Admission is free to the general exhibition space, which displays Australian (from settlement to contemporary), European and Asian art. he gallery has an extensive collection of British Victorian art, such as Lord Frederic Leighton and Sir Edward John Poynter; smaller holdings of Dutch, French and Italian painters of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, such as Peter Paul Rubens, Canaletto, Agnolo Bronzino, Domenico Beccafumi and Niccolò dell’Abbate; collections of European modernists such as Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alberto Giacometti and Giorgio Morandi as well as modern British masters. The gallery hosts the long running Archibald Prize, the most prominent Australian art prize, along with the Sulman, Wynne and Dobell art prizes, among others. It also exhibits Art express, a yearly showcase of Higher School Certificate Visual Arts Examination artworks from across New South Wales.

www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Musée du Louvre, France

The Musée du Louvre or the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre—is one of the world’s largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years.During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces.

www.louvre.fr

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