Top 10 art museums in the world

NEW YORK Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:03am EST

1 of 8. Visitors at the Musee d'Orsay admire a self-portrait by French painter Paul Cezanne, 'Portrait de l'artiste au fond rose' one the masterpieces donated to museums in France, October 16, 2000.

Credit: Reuters/John Schults

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Whether it's the Louvre, the Metropolitan or the Tate, some of the world's top art museums have become destinations in themselves, with online travel site TripAdvisor compiling a list of the world's top 10.

"Travelers could easily get lost in them for at least a day," said TripAdvisor spokeswoman Michele Perry. "This top 10 is a check list to see the very finest artwork in the world."

The list was compiled based on traffic to the attractions on tripadvisor.com and is not endorsed by Reuters:

1. Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

Once a fortified palace that was the home to kings of France, the Louvre is now the world's most famous museum, renowned for some of the finest pieces of art in the world, including the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.

2. Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Spanning nearly nine miles, the Roman Catholic Church's Vatican collection is one of the largest and most stunning in the world. Estimated to have more than four million visitors annually, the Vatican museums feature the art of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and, of course, Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

3. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

From Picasso to Pollock, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on New York City's Museum Mile, is one of the world's largest museums with over two million pieces of artwork and enough variety for any enthusiast. Peruse the Greek sculptures, admire the armory or browse the 2,000 European paintings, all contained in a magnificent Beaux-Art facade building.

4. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

The Getty features a remarkable collection, including the works of Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne. The museum's structure is a piece of art in itself, and the grounds also feature beautiful gardens, and views of Los Angeles.

5. Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

Enjoy Van Gogh's "Starry Night," inside the Musee D'Orsay, a former train station built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, with a dramatic glass roof. Specializing in 19th and 20th century artwork, the museum displays a striking collection of Impressionism, including famous works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Degas.

6. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Experience (or at least admire) Botticelli's "Birth of Venus," in the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest museums in the world featuring works from Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci in the heart of Florence.

7. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Located on Chicago's Loop, The Art Institute of Chicago boasts extensive Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, including more than 30 pieces by Monet. Visit France from afar through Monet's "Haystacks" and spending time "At the Moulin Rouge," one of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's famous paintings.

8. Tate Modern, London, England

Enjoy the electric art at the Tate Modern, displayed in a former Bankside Power Station, with views of the Thames River and Millennium Bridge. Remember the "Forgotten Horizon," one of Dali's many masterpieces and part of one of the largest collections of Surrealism in the World.

9. Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

One of the largest and most impressive collections in the world, not surprisingly, the Prado Museum is most famous for its assortment of works from Spanish artists such as Goya, Velasquez, Murillo, and El Greco.

10. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is comprised of an east and west building, and features a sculpture garden surrounding a large fountain. Modern art fans should head to the east building, where works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol are displayed.

(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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