Summer time is flourishing so more and more of us travel. While nice weather encourages everybody to outdoor activities some tourists decide to visit museums while travelling. Here is my list of best museums I have ever visited. Obviously, I haven’t seen them all but of all I visited these are particularly interesting.
Galleria Borghese (Rome, Italy)
I have never thought I was a fan of sculptures until my first visit in this museum. All Bernini’s sculptures were simply awesome. Apollo and Daphne, David, Pluto and Proserpina, makes you wonder if the sculptures aren’t real. The details of human bodies frozen in marble are stunning. Also Pauline Bonaparte by Canova is simply beautiful. While it is tricky to buy a ticket as it needs to be purchase in advance and it allows you to visit this museum in a particular slot of time (about 45min.) it is still worthy of the effort. Villa is remarkable itself so if you can’t buy the ticket via internet go to the garden in early morning, try to buy a ticket for the same day and wait for your turn sitting on a bench and watching this perfect building blended into the garden. Ah, yes, and don’t bother to visit their website, it is rather old and it might discourage you.
Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Holland)
I enjoyed this museum very much. First of all, I went there with my dear friend and this was a nice conclusion of the whole day spent in Amsterdam together. Second, this is the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh. Third, the building is stunning example of modern architecture so don’t think twice before visiting it. No surprise the Van Gogh museum exhibits more than 200 pictures of this author, but what is really great about it is the narration of this exhibition. It tells you a fascinating story, showing particular periods of artist’s activity, his relation with brother Theo, moving around France and Belgium, friendship with other artists and temporary insanity episodes. The exhibition attempts to show the influence of the particular events on his works and by the time you watch the Wheatfield with Crows (1890), one of his last paintings, you are deeply touched with his story. I think this is a must-see in Amsterdam and encourage you to visit by all means.
Postal Museum (Washington, DC, USA)
I described this museum before and to avoid repetition please visit this post for the details.
Mauritshuis (The Hague, Holland)
Long before the movie starring Scarlett Johansson the picture Girl with a Pearl Earring was in my mind. I saw the first picture painted by Vermeer- The Lacemaker kept in Louvre- in the late nineties and admired it at once. Most of all the size of the picture was unexpected and knowing he was working on it for more than a year made it even more eccentric. Mauritshuis located in the Dutch capital The Hague is much less visited than other museums in Holland, however, it is worthy of every penny. Its location is beautiful: an old building surrounded by the water in the city center. Apart of its main attraction this museum is exhibits other famous works of art, including Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and The garden of Eden with the fall of man by Jan Brueghel the Elder. The museum is small but well kept and apart of the works of art it also gives you a good opportunity to watch the traditional Dutch houses inside.
Phillips Collection (Washington, DC, USA)
Washington DC is widely known for its museums and thousands of people visit this city every year for this purpose. I am always amazed with quantity of impressionist pictures exhibited in the United States. Even having seen the biggest impressionists’ museums in Paris and in the Netherlands I am impressed with the exhibitions watched in the States every time. Phillips Collection is a beautiful example of excellent paintings and well thought exhibition mode. It is situated in elegant district of Washington, in a charming old building surrounded by garden. If you’re lucky and visit Washington during the Cherry Blossoms Festival you’ll see it in its best.
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir remains the best known and most popular work of art at The Phillips Collection, however, it is full of European impressionism. Dancers at the Bar by Degas,The Road Menders and Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles by Van Gogh, or Ginger Pot with Pomegranate and Pears by Cezanne are examples of excellency of the Phillips Collection. This museum keeps a good balance between famous and less known paintings and all works of arts are shown with care. The story told in this museum is framed with very nice interior and good light so your journey to the past is just perfect.
Watching works of art is a good opportunity to get closer to the culture of a visited country. It’s not that you need to visit all museums and spend all your holiday inside but if you picked up one or two in a place visited it’s no harm. If you’re not an art enthousiast start with the most famous one to get encouraged to the less known.
Which museum would you recommend to other travelers?