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The feeling of walking through the galleries of a museum and losing oneself in art is like no other. But some museums have such big collections, that you can’t possibly absorb it all in one visit. Here is our pick of 6 incredible museums around the world that we’d love to visit again and again.
1. The Louvre, Paris
No visit to Paris would be complete without visiting one of the world’s most popular museums – the Louvre. Housed in the Louvre Palace, which was originally a fortress built in the 12th century, the museum has the distinction of being the second most visited in the world.
The four wings of the Louvre have an impressive collection of over 380,000 artworks and artefacts, ranging from prehistoric to contemporary works! Some of the best examples of human creativity across the ages lie here – Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s The Rebellious Slave and The Dying Slave, the sculpture of Cupid and Psyche and so much more!
(Mona Lisa is part of the permanent collection at the Louvre)
(Michelangelo's Rebellious Slave (Left) and Dying Slave (Right); Image Source: michelangelo.org)
2. British Museum, London
The British Museum in London, founded in 1753, houses collections that represent millions of years of history, which you can view for free!
(The British Museum is located in the Bloomsbury Area of London)
From Egyptian mummies to drawings by the Great Masters, from the Assyrian Palace Rooms to artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone, the museum houses 8 million objects, and documents human culture from its beginnings to the present. The oldest object in the museum’s collection is the Olduvai stone chopping tool from Tanzania, which dates back to about 1.8 million years!
(Left: The Rosetta Stone; Right:The Olduvai Tool; Image Source: www.pbs.org)
(The Khorsabad Palace Reliefs and Assyrian Art at the British Museum, Room 10)
3. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Imagine a museum so large, that it would take 11 years to see everything on display, even if you spent just one minute looking at each exhibit!
With a collection of over 3 million items including paintings, graphic works, sculptures, archaeological artefacts and numismatic objects (with only a small section open to public viewing), the State Hermitage in Russia is one of the world’s oldest museums, with the largest collection of paintings anywhere in the world.
(Coins at the Hermitage Museum; Image Source: www.saint-petersburg.com)
The Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors and one of the five museum buildings open to the public, boasts of stunning Baroque architecture and rich interiors.
(The Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace; Image Source: www.hermitagemuseum.org)
4. National Museum of China, Beijing
In 2003, the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution were combined to form the National Museum of China, now the largest museum in the country. Located in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, it has a collection of more than 1 million objects, covering Chinese history from as long as 1.7 million years ago!
The museum has on display some very rare and precious items, such as the "Simuwu Ding" from the Shang Dynasty (the heaviest piece of ancient bronzeware in the world at approx. 830 kgs) and a Han Dynasty jade burial suit sewn with gold thread.
(Left: Han Dynasty Jade Burial Suit; Right: Simuwu Ding; Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Metropolitan Museum, or the Met as it is popularly called, is spread across three iconic locations in New York - The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters.
(The Met at 5th Avenue; Image Source: www.zealnyc.com)
The museum has over 2 million artworks representing every corner of the world. Art from masters like Rembrandt, Goya and Van Gogh resides alongside modern works by Jackson Pollock and Balthus, representing 5,000 years of exceptional creativity.
(Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat by Vincent Van Gogh, 1887, displayed at the Met; Image Source: www.hg92.wordpress.com)
Besides art, the Met also houses an entire Egyptian temple, and awe-inspiring collections of musical instruments, accessories and costumes, and antique weapons and armor from around the world.
(The Egyptian Temple of Dendur, awarded to the MET in 1967. Image Source: www.metmuseum.org)
6. Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Colossal statues, intricate mosaics and splendid frescoes at the Vatican Museums leave every visitor spellbound! Contained within Vatican City, the museums include a vast collection built up by Popes throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and masterpieces of Renaissance art.
(Image Source: www.emiliovillegas.com)
The main attraction of the museum is obviously the world renowned Sistine Chapel with its ceiling painted by Michelangelo, and other paintings by Botticelli, Perugino, Rosselli and Ghirlandaio. Other magnificent sights include the Gallery of Maps and the four Raphael Rooms.
(Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; Image Source: www.acesweeklyblog.com)
(The Gallery of Maps; Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
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