Since our childhood, we’ve been taught that when you visit a new city, it’s just right to make a stop at its museums, to appreciate its artistic forms, and to know its culture. As we grew up, we realized that it’s not always possible to fully enjoy what the new destination has to offer. We must make restrictions and cuts, thus limiting the pleasure of our trip, and often we delete from our to-do list the visits to museums and art collections. That’s why we offer you a list of the top 10 free museums in the world: so you won’t miss out on the good manners and you’ll keep on nourishing your beauty knowledge.
TATE MODERN – London
Situated on the banks of the River Thames, London’s Tate Modern is one of the most intriguing modern art museums in the world. The institution declares its right presumption even before you get inside: reachable through the Millennium Bridge, a fully pedestrian new-fangled suspended bridge, the museum was once a thermoelectric power plant and this already enhances its charm.
Ancient and modern blend together to create one of the conservation sites for the works of the most important artists of the XX century, such as Picasso, Matisse, Pollock and Warhol. In addition to the permanent collection located on the third and fifth floor, on the remaining levels the museum regularly hosts exhibitions of the most important personalities of the contemporary art scene.
The Tate Modern surely is a must-see passage for all art enthusiasts and for those who want to enjoy a marvellous London panorama.
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
STATENS MUSEUM FOR KUNST – Copenhagen
For lovers of traditional painting and sculpture, the type of art that inspire fervid contemplation, that has your jaw dropping while you say: “This is art!”, the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen is the right place for you to be. We are talking about Denmark’s national art gallery, the most important Danish museum.
Once used to store the royal collection, over time it has expanded its acquisitions, that now include works ranging from historic avant-gardes to contemporary times. This is where you have to go if you are fond of sophisticated Flemish painting, traditional Nordic art or simply if you are a serial nostalgic.
Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 København, Denmark
+45 33 74 84 94
GETTY CENTER– Los Angeles
If you plan to go to Los Angeles, surely the last of your thoughts is to lock yourself inside a museum. And yet, perhaps you are not aware of the existence of the Getty Center. Lying on the hills of the Santa Monica complex, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and fully covered with travertine from Italy, this is a complex of buildings that looks almost like a small town.
The sensation here is to be in an exclusive private Los Angeles club from the golden years, with fountains, a large botanical garden, refreshment areas and, last but not least, exhibitions hosting masterpieces of American and European art, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. Moreover, the Getty naturally hosts an extraordinary collection of photographs, one of the most renowned in the world. In perfect American style, abounding is never a mistake!
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1657, USA
NATIONAL ART MUSEUM OF CHINA – Beijing
They say that knowing the art of a country is one of the most effective methods for understanding its history, culture and traditions. That’s why, if you are in Beijing, you must go to the National Art Museum of China, China’s most important museum, which has a wealth of artistic artefacts that are much needed to understand a culture with endless facets and mysterious charm.
The collection doesn’t only include what we would expect to see – watercolours, inks on paper and pottery – but also masks, traditional clothes and works of contemporary Chinese painting. Chinese art tells the story of a reality in itself, unknown to many, which bears little influences from the West. Locked in a magic bubble, it has been able to preserve the past and transmit it over the centuries.
1 Wusi St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
+86 10 6401 7076
BRITISH MUSEUM – London
If you imagine the museum as a memorial site, the British Museum in London is the right place for you. 4 kilometres of history, archaeological finds and objects that testify to the different cultures of the world, from its origins to the present days. Here you will find artefacts from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. Highlights include the famous Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, Roman statues, as well as Leonardo da Vinci drawings and prehistoric utensils.
Entering the British Museum is like diving into the past in order to know our roots and those of distant cultures. If your childhood dream was to be an archaeologist, this is the right place to keep on dreaming.
Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
MUSÉE DE L’ART MODERN DEL LA VILLE DE PARIS – Paris
Located in the heart of Paris, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris is one of the largest modern and contemporary museums in France. The institution contains the best works of the main artistic exponents who, in the 1930s, populated the city and the European art scene. Paris, the city of art for excellence, which gave birth to expressionism and cubism and inspired the most celebrated creative personalities of the 20th century, preserves inside the M.A.M. all its eclecticism and expressive beauty.
The museum is recommended to all the lovers of the historical artistic avant-gardes, those who love Paris, to the romantics.
11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
+33 1 53 67 40 00
ROTHKO CHAPEL – Houston
Timeless, mystical and surreal. The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, presents itself as a sacred construction where the artist of the colour field painting movement realized 14 big site-specific works.
Known for his monochrome paintings expressing pure and authentic emotions, Mark Rothko has devoted all his pictorial research to chromatic emotion by creating works of great sensibility and pathos. In the case of the Rothko Chapel, the artist filled the interior of the octagonal plant with a series of black-coloured canvases, creating a place suitable for generic contemplation and lay prayer, which does not require membership of any type of religion because it encloses them all. A statue of Barnett Newman positioned outside complements this unmissable place, unique in its kind.
1409 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART – New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is definitely one of the places to visit at least once in a lifetime. Located close to Central Park, the charming museum has a permanent collection ranging from archaeology to classical and Egyptian art, from Renaissance art to the movements of the second half of the 20th century.
The Met is the classic museum that all major cities should have. Spending an afternoon here is like diving into a history book, learning the notions only through the power of the images. Be careful, therefore, not to miss it within its 19 sections, ordered yes, but perhaps one day won’t be enough to visit it all!
A donation is recommended at the entrance.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
00 1 212-731-1498
PIRELLI HANGAR BICOCCA – Milan
The Pirelli Hangar Bicocca is a foundation born in 2004 for the purpose of promoting and spreading contemporary art. Located in Milan, the structure is a retrieval of a locomotive factory, and so it’s characterized by ample and austere spaces that enhance its charm. The space is subdivided into an area that cyclically hosts exhibitions of the most important artists from the contemporary Italian and international scene, and an adjacent space where is placed the permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces by Anselm Kiefer, an imposing work that reflects on the relationship between man and nature by making references to western history.
Via Chiese, 2, 20126 Milan, Italy
+39 02 6611 1573
DAIMLER CONTEMPORARY – Berlin
Berlin is now consecrated as one of the world’s modern and contemporary art capitals. It’s also the birthplace of the Daimler Contemporary, a collection of artworks by the homonymous entrepreneur that cyclically hosts temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection features works from the twentieth century to the present, with particular attention to the Bauhaus, the conceptual movement and the new technologies in art. It reflects the taste of the eclectic collector who, always keen on new trends and influences, continues to invest in new pieces, thus increasing the value of the museum. Characterized by a calm and refined ambient, the Daimler Contemporary is the right place to take a break from the chaos of the city.
Alte Potsdamer Str. 5, 10785 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 25941420