Some works of art have people travelling from around the world just to sneak a glance. And it's not surprising to find these pieces are usually housed in cities rich in culture. Whether it's modern street art, or ancient statues, once you arrive you soon realise there's more to see than just one masterpiece. We've compiled a list of beautiful pieces of art, in places you might not have considered. These works will take you to some of the world's best destinations. From New York to Kuala Lumpur, via the arty heavyweights of Florence and Paris, we check out 10 artworks or collections of art that are totally worth the trip.
One of MoMA's biggest pulls and one of the most recognisable artworks in the world, Van Gogh's Starry Night enjoys pride of place in the gallery's fifth floor. Painted in 1889 during Van Gogh's stint in an asylum, it is a key piece of post-impressionist art. Starry Night offers a valuable insight into Van Gogh's state of mind, but also demonstrates a significant turning point in the human art experience. The New York art scene revolves most famously around the Met and the MoMA, although the Brooklyn Gallery and the numerous smaller venues are worth exploring. New York's transcendent vibrancy exists well beyond the walls of the galleries however, from street art to live music and theatre. A trip to the Big Apple should be on anyone's travel bucket list.
The Mud Maid sculpture was created by Pete and Sue Hill in 1997 as part of the restoration of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This huge 'living' sculpture celebrates local animistic mythology and its place within nature. The clothes and hair of the sleeping stone woman change with the season adding a magic quite unlike other sculptures. Established as one of the UK's top alternative art destinations in the mid 20th century, Cornwall still boasts a flourishing contemporary art scene today. With over 400 miles of coastline, Cornwall is also a surfer's paradise and boasts one of the UK's sunniest climes.
Long a destination at the top of any art aficionados list, the Casa Batlló museum in Barcelona is a piece of art in and of itself. This architectural wonder was designed by Gaudí in the late 19th century. A striking example of his large-scale modernist architectural work and a project that he enjoyed the most creative freedom with. He was inspired by the biomorphic shapes of the Mediterranean Sea. Gaudí's influence can be experienced all over Barcelona – La Sagrada Família, Parc Güell, Casa Vicens and Casa Milà are just some of his most famous creations. Beyond Gaudí, Barcelona has so much to offer art lovers and cultural explorers. A seaside city with vibrant street performances and a happening club scene, Barcelona is always a whirlwind adventure.
Berlin combines a fascinating history with a reputation for being the most happening city in Europe. The street art along the Berlin Wall is a far cry from its more classic museums of the Museum Island. Here you will find the marble Market Gate of Miletus, which is found within the Pergamon Museum. It was originally built in the Ancient Greek city of Miletus in the 2nd Century AD, destroyed by an earthquake in the 1100s and then excavated by German archaeologists in the early 20th century and reconstructed in the museum by the order of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Truly humbling to behold, the gate and other large scale reconstructions at the Pergamon offer a chance to step back in time to the ancient world. The gate has been under construction for a couple of years now, so check before you travel to avoid disappointment.
Stockholm's sculpture garden and museum, Millesgården, is one of the most significant art destinations in Scandinavia. Officially opened in 1936 by Olga and Carl Milles, the estate includes the artists' former home, a gallery and the sculpture garden. Most significant sculptures include the Hand of God, Angel Musicians, Man and Pegasus, The Wings, The Eagle and The Ice-skating Princess. The beautiful gardens are not simply a display of 20th century sculpture, but also the tale of two artists, their love for one another and their own artistic journey. Stockholm itself is a bucket-list destination for anyone with even a passing interest in Nordic art and design.
Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus painting is one of the most lauded of all renaissance artworks. Created around 1485, this large-scale painting beautifully depicts the birth of the goddess Venus. Botticelli takes the classic poses of ancient statues of Venus, but updates it for the 15th century viewer. Florence, the birthplace of the renaissance is one of the world's major classic art destinations, as well as the Uffizi, it is home to the Accademia Gallery and the Florence Duomo. Florence is one of the most romantic destinations in Europe, a place where art, architecture and history come together like nowhere on Earth.
The street art of Malaysia takes graffiti to a whole new level. The cities of Penang and Kuala Lumpur are awash with urban masterpieces that depict everyday sights and homages to nature, often in exceedingly lifelike images or in vibrant colours. Many pieces interact with objects in the environment such as bikes, swings or building features, whilst others encourage the public to pose within the paintings. In Malaysia tradition and modernity happily co-exist in a county that has become a key destination on the South-east Asian trail.
The Venus de Milo statue dates from the 2nd century BC, discovered in Lios, Greece, it is currently on display at the Louvre, Paris. It is thought to depict Aphrodite (Venus) and credited to the sculptor Alexandros of Antioch, it represents the pinnacle of female beauty in the ancient world. Paris is one of the most significant art destinations in the world, with visitors spoiled for choice between the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, as well as hundreds of smaller museums and galleries. Paris, known also for its architecture, food and fashion is quite possibly the most chic location on Earth.
Rome is home to the world-famous La Pieta sculpture, located within the Vatican City. La Pieta (1499), a renaissance depiction of Jesus and Mary by Michelangelo is a meticulous stone sculpture with a pure essence that gives it both artistic and religious meaning. Housed within the atmospheric St. Peter's Basilica, many visitors find themselves moved by the simplicity of motherly love that it displays. The city itself boasts a long narrative from its ancient roots, to its renaissance and baroque awakenings and to the global city of food and culture that it is today, another key European city on any travel list.