The existence of museums plays an important role in preserving art and culture across the globe. Museums are also a means for cultural exchange and enrichment of cultures, as well as educating people about history and tradition. Every year, new museums join in the commemoration of International Museum Day on 18 May, providing more space devoted to the arts. With that said, here are six stunning museums around the world dedicated to housing and preserving art.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum was brought to life in 1997 after a partnership venture between the Basque Institutions and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The complex and remarkable details on the exterior of the museum was designed by Frank O. Gehry, a Canadian-born architect known for his quirky designs. The interior, however, consists of modern and contemporary art that are just as mesmerising as the building itself.
The Louvre, France
Located in the City of Love—Paris—the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. However, the iconic museum would not be what it has become today, if it had not gone through the many changes that it did. The Louvre was originally built as a palace in the mid-1500s to serve King Francis I as his royal residence. Throughout the museum’s 229 years of existence, The Louvre was built and rebuilt many times subsequently by French kings, adding their own touch to the building. Now, the Louvre is home to many of the most well-known artworks in history, such as the Mona Lisa.
The Louis Vuitton Foundation, France
Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum welcomes a new space catering to modern and contemporary art in Paris, France. The museum houses art belonging to the Foundation as well as the personal collection of Bernard Arnault, CEO of Louis Vuitton. Temporary exhibitions are also held in the museum, showcasing art commissioned from artists and private institutions. The building is also a work of art in itself. Its facade is constructed with an assemblage of white concrete blocks that are designed to imitate icebergs, and surrounding the blocks are 12 huge curved glass facades carefully arranged to exude a sense of movement.
Musée d’Orsay, France
The Musee d’Orsay museum was originally built between 1898 and 1900 as a railway station by architect Victor Laloux, a well-respected architect of the period. The station was initially opened with the main objective to welcome visitors from home and abroad for the 1900 Universal Exhibition. However, since it was opened, the station served many purposes including as a reception center for repatriated prisoners and deportees in 1945. Fast forward to today, the Musee d’Orsay houses some of the most unforgettable collections of art from the late 19th to 20th centuries.
The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands
Opened in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum pays tribute to the late Vincent van Gogh, showcasing the life and work of the renowned artist. Gerrit Rietveld and Kurokawa Kisho designed the museum’s structure with emphasis on the geometrical forms, which also allows natural light to shine through the exhibition space. Although the museum was built primarily to showcase Vincent Van Gogh’s art, it also houses art belonging to his contemporaries, including Mary Cassatt and Paul Gauguin.
The Vatican Museum, Italy
Founded in 1973 by Pope Julius II, the Vatican Museum exhibits an extensive collection of historical art, archaeology, and ethnoanthropology gathered by the Popes over the centuries. The museum was originally built to enhance and promote the most prominent Greek and Roman works of art from the Vatican. Today, the museum houses an estimated 70,000 artworks including Roman sculptures and Renaissance paintings.
Read more about other museums around the world here.
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