According to Wikipedia, there are more than a hundred thousand museums in the world. Of course, it is impossible to see everything. If you want to start with something, here is a list of the largest and most exciting museums and galleries, which you can get into absolutely free at any time.
London National Gallery, London, UNITED Kingdom
Opening times: daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays to 9 p.m.
Famous exhibits: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Van Eyck’s Portrait of the Arnolfini, Titian’s Holy Family
One of the UK’s most extensive art galleries is free to visit and see more than two thousand paintings from the 12th to the 20th century. It is difficult to walk past the gallery: it is located in the heart of London, in Trafalgar Square.
This is an iconic place in the history of painting: under one roof, collected masterpieces of all European schools of painting. It is impossible to see everything at once, so that in order not to get lost in the world of paintings, pre-set your route: choose certain paintings or painters with which you want to familiarize yourself. If you do not know where to start, you can read the list on the gallery’s website and see the 30 most important paintings.
Museum of Contemporary Art Paris, Paris, France
Opening times: daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays to 10 p.m.
Famous exhibits: “Light of Electricity” by Raoul Dufy, “Paris Dance” by Matisse.
The museum is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, in the building of the Tokyo Palace. The collection includes more than 8,000 works representing different trends in 20th-century art. You can see the avant-garde trends – Cubism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Surrealism – and more modern pieces.
The permanent exhibition is divided into two large sections. The first includes works of art created from the early twentieth century to the 1960s. You can see masterpieces of Braque, Chagall, Degener, Dofi, Modigliani, and Picasso in these halls. It also presents furniture and interior items of that era. The second section includes different currents of contemporary art created after 1960. There are also separate halls, one of which is given to Matisse’s work, and the second – under a vast fresco “Light of Electricity” by Raoul Dofi.
The museum is linked to one of the biggest thefts of recent years: in 2010, five works belonging to the hands of Picasso, Leger, Matisse, Modigliani, and Braque were stolen from here. Their total value is about 100 million dollars. The paintings have not yet been found.
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Opening times: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays to 9 p.m.
Famous exhibits: Van Gogh’s Irises, Renoir’s Walk, Kibela Statue
California’s largest art museum is free to visit any day of the year. It was founded by oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty, who at the time of his death in 1976 was the richest man on the planet. After his death, he left his private collection and all his fortune to the museum, making it possible to buy old masters and antique sculptures at prestigious auctions. At one point, employees’ enthusiasm even led to the creation of artificial excitement in the art market and a sharp increase in prices.
Today, the Getty Museum consists of two complexes: the Getty Villa in Malibu (a huge palace built during the life of a billionaire) and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which was built in 1997 by the famous American architect Richard Meyer. All the most famous works of art are kept in the center, and the villa has collections from the ancient period.
If you’re not going to California yet, it won’t hurt to see the museum’s exhibits: since 2013, more than 4,600 digitized images have been available to anyone with access to the Internet.
National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday weekend
Famous exhibits: the things of the girl from Egtved, the solar cart
Anyone wishing to learn about the history of Denmark can do it for free. But do not think that you will get into a simple museum of the type of local history: the most important for the country’s cultural and historical museum works since 1892 and collects many exciting exhibits about Denmark in all eras of its existence.
You come here, if you are, for example, a Viking fan – the museum has a rich collection of artifacts of the period, including stones with ancient images of runes. You can see the Trunnholm chariot, the golden horns from Gallehus, and the cart from Daibjerg.
One of the most exciting exhibits is the belongings of a girl from Egtved, found near the same name in 1921. Burial dates from about 1370 BC, and over the past millennia, the body has been completely decomposed. Still, all jewelry and clothing (including miniskirts) have been preserved almost in their original form. Until now, it is the best-preserved outfit of the northern European Bronze Age.
And the most famous exhibit is the Solar Wagon. It is a large bronze horse, wrapped in a chariot in the form of the sun, one side of which is gilded. The sculpture dates back to about the same time as the girl from Egtved. Most likely, some religious rituals were associated with the chariot.
National Museum of China, Beijing, China
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday weekend
Famous exhibits: sacrificial tripod Din (age 3000 years), Yuanmou man (age 1.7 million years), jade prince
It is the largest museum in the country and the most visited museum in the world. At the same time, it is not too popular with foreign tourists, so the main cash register is made by the Chinese themselves. But it’s worth looking here, especially if you’re interested in the history of China – nowhere in the world, you will not find so many exhibits. There are more than 620,000 of them stored here!
The museum covers 5,000 years of the country’s history, from ancient times to the present. The upper floors, where the exhibition is located about the modern history of China, the revolution, and the Communist Party, are not very interesting to foreigners, but to see the halls with antiquities is worth it.
The museum has truly priceless exhibits. For example, it is worth coming here to look at the soldiers of the terracotta army – however, there are only a few. Your attention deserves the sacrificial tripod Dean – a ritual vessel used to sacrifice the spirits of ancestors. It is more than 3000 years old and weighs 833 kilograms, making it the world’s most extensive bronze product of antiquity.
Another exhibit that attracts attention is the Jade Prince, a perfectly preserved garment sewn with gold threads from fragments of polished jade. It was buried in the country a few thousand years ago.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UNITED Kingdom
Opening times: daily from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Fridays to 10 p.m.
Famous exhibits: “Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini” Botticelli, “Day Dreams” by Rossetti
A visit to one of London’s finest museums and a museum with the richest collection of decorative arts in Europe will cost you free of charge. Just note that you need to spend at least a couple of days to inspect all the halls, and then it will be quite a superficial acquaintance with the beautiful: in 140 halls of the museum, there are more than four million items.
The museum exhibits rare exhibits covering 5,000 years of humanity’s quest for beauty. Here and the household items of the ancient Egyptians and the latest samples of home design. British halls are very popular with children because they have a lot of interactive installations. Adults will love costume exhibitions, including theatrical ones, and fine art lovers will appreciate the sketches for the tapestries of the Sistine Chapel made by Raphael. And here is furniture, musical instruments, decorations and even elements of the facades of buildings – all this not only from Europe but also from Asia and Japan. You can also see Britain’s most extensive collection of early British photography.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Famous exhibits: “Portrait of Ginevra de Benci” by Leonardo da Vinci, “The Walk. Dame with umbrella Claude Monet, “Family of Comedians” by Pablo Picasso
The National Gallery of Washington has one of the world’s best collections of artworks. Here you can see the world-famous paintings of European and American masters – there are more than 1200 paintings. It houses one of the world’s best collections of Italian Renaissance painting. Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Fra Beato Angelico, Pietro Perugino – the gallery has something to be proud of. And, of course, the works of the three greatest masters of the Renaissance – Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo – are also here. Michelangelo’s work, however, is represented only by a few drawings, but one of Leonardo’s most famous works, the portrait of Ginevra de Benci, is kept in the National Gallery. By the way, this is the only artist’s work on the American continent.
The gallery consists of two buildings connected by an underground passage. The Western building, an older, neoclassical-style building with columns and a massive dome, houses sculptures and works by great masters of the past centuries. The eastern building is newer, and there are collections of paintings by contemporary artists. There are also educational and research centers.
The gallery has a vast Sculpture Garden, where you can look at modern sculptures, relax on benches, and in winter ride on the rink, which opens in the center of the garden.