Art with Impact: 5 must see museums
Time is precious and the great galleries of Europe can be vast and overwhelming. For anyone who can’t face the crowds at the Louvre, here are five other options that pack a lot of punch with minimal fuss.
Neues Museum, Berlin
Among the treasures of Berlin’s Museum Island is the Neues Museum, a symbol of the city’s rebirth and a trove of ancient wonders. Bombed during World War II, it lay in ruins for half a century before its modern revival under the vision of architect David Chipperfield. It now houses an incredible collection of pre-historic and ancient Egyptian artefacts.
Don’t miss: The extraordinary bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti, a 3,000-year-old work whose striking beauty has beguiled archaeologists and artists for decades.
Rembrandt House, Amsterdam
Among the picture-perfect canals of Amsterdam is an atmospheric little house that makes up for in character what it lacks in size. The Rembrandt House Museum is a careful re-creation of the artist’s home as it was when he lived here from 1639 to 1656. On show are examples of his etchings, several paintings and items from his personal collection.
Don’t miss: Rembrandt’s original studio, bathed in natural light and tinged with the evocative smell of oil paints, as if the master had only just left his easel.
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid
Spain’s national museum of 20th century art demonstrates how much the modern art world owes to Spanish artists and the movements they helped spawn. Just a short walk from the more sober masterpieces of Madrid’s famous Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia is home to a vibrant collection of more recent Spanish icons including Picasso, Dali, Miro and more.
Don’t miss: Picasso’s Guernica, the arresting mural that became an international symbol of anti-war protest, painted in defiance of the Nazi and Fascist regimes that swept Europe in the 1930s.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
As art patrons go, Peggy Guggenheim had an eye for the greats. Picasso, Pollock, Miro, Kandinsky and other bohemian masters of the modernist era quickly caught the eye of this wealthy American heiress. She also had an eye for real estate, and her home on the Grand Canal of Venice is now one of the most spectacularly located galleries in the world.
Don’t miss: Jackson Pollock’s Alchemy, one of the intense drip paintings that came to define his style and a fine example of why Guggenheim became a champion of his work.
Muse de l’Orangerie, Paris
Across the Tuileries gardens from the Louvre, this small but beautifully designed gallery is like a private conservatory for French artists including Monet, Matisse, Renoir and Rousseau. Most visitors come for the spectacle of Monet’s famous waterlilies, but the rest of the collection is also superb and offers a peaceful sanctuary from the crowds at other Paris landmarks.
Don’t miss: Well, there’s no missing those waterlilies. Claude Monet’s giant masterworks are displayed in two oval-shaped rooms, in all their 360-degree glory.