Art is most definitely in the eye of the beholder, and when the beholder is an American considering moving abroad and wanting to combine this relocation with a love of art, there are dozens of cities, (apart from Paris or Rome), which have made it a priority to give their citizens an enriched art experience.
It doesn’t much matter what art you are talking about: classical, modern, Impressionist…even street art.
Here is a list of top 7 cities for art lovers.
1. Berlin, Germany
As a city for raising a family and engendering in them a love of art, Berlin offers hundreds of galleries exhibiting some of the best art in the world. Visit a few of the larger galleries, first, to get an idea of what’s being shown, and then start taking in the smaller establishments, which are more intimate and will surprise you with the extremely high quality of work on show.
Classical work can be seen at the Alte Nationalgalerie and Gemäldegalerie which display European paintings from the 13th to 18th century. The Neue Nationalgalerie has an impressive collection of modern 20th-century art.
If you’re more into street art, then Berlin is hosts some seriously impressive street and public art including the East Side Gallery, the world’s longest outdoor mural painted on a 1.3 km section of the Berlin Wall.
2. Tokyo, Japan
If you are moving to Japan, and Tokyo is your target city, you will find its galleries spread far and wide across the sprawling megalopolis – home to 37.8-million people! But it’s certainly worth taking the challenge of getting around and finding them. A good place to start is Roppongi – home to the Mori Art Museum, National Art Center and smaller spaces like Ota Fine Arts – while over in Taito, SCAI The Bathhouse, a contemporary gallery in a 200-year-old former public bathhouse, is one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art destinations.
Most fascinating in Tokyo is its outdoor art scene. While the city is filled with museums, alternative art galleries and exhibitions you can see some of the best art in the city for free…and outdoors.
3. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is home to works by some of the most famed Spanish artists: Picasso, Dalí and Velázquez to name a few, covering the range of art from Cubism, Impressionism, Modernism and Post-Modernism. Any art love must visit Museu Picasso, home to one of the biggest collections of Picasso works in the world. Equally impressive is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, with collection of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque works. Barcelona’s museums have many collections that span medieval times to the 1990s. Contemporary works by established and lesser-known artists are everywhere and almost every museum organizes temporary exhibitions for a diverse offering to their permanent collections.
Fundació Joan Miró for example, housing more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró’s graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. When meandering throught he streets of Barcelona, don’t miss the Casa Batlló – one of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces and one of the most famous buildings in the world.
Renaissance art and Florence cannot be separated. The problem with Florence is knowing where to begin, as the city bursts with art and history. A walking tour of the Uffizi with its masterpieces by Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Caravaggio is a good starting point. Visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, or the Bargello for its incredible collection of Renaissance sculptures.
If you consider fashion as art, then you should visit the Ferragamo Museo, a museum dedicated to the work of iconic shoe designer, Salvatore Ferragamo.
5. São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil’s sprawling megalopolis is home to the Museu de Arte Moderna where visitors can see modern and contemporary Brazilian art and a garden display of 30 outstanding sculptural works. But the Museu de Arte de São Paulo is considered the best contemporary art museum in all of South America, so it must not be missed. And galleries like Choque Cultural offer a taste of local, emerging talents.
Some of the world’s best graffiti artists and muralists work here, too. The photo-like paintings of Eduardo Kobra adorn walls and buildings throughout the city while some of São Paulo’s neighborhoods, where the narrow streets are literally covered with graffiti, seem more like outdoor museums.
6. New York, New York
For art lovers, just thinking of the Big Apple conjures up images of the Metropolitan, the MoMA, the Guggenheim, and many other smaller, but no less impressive, museums and galleries. The newly built Whitney Museum of American Art is very notable; the Gagosian Galleries always has an interesting exhibit as does the David Zwirner Gallery. The SOHO Gallery for Digital Art features the most contemporary media, while spots like the Agora Gallery feature both established and up-and-coming artists.
To experience the New York art scene as a local, start taking in the Thursday night openings run by many small galleries in Chelsea. Check the Chelsea Gallery Map as a resource to help you navigate your way around these exciting venues.
7. London, UK
Renowned 18th Century English author Samuel Johnson could have been referring to the London art scene when he said: “When you’re tired of London, you are tired of life”, because London has a gallery to suit any and all genres – classic, modern, contemporary or anything in between. Surprisingly so many of London’s galleries are completely free.
The National Gallery has rooms filled with masterpieces by van Gogh and John Constable. The Victoria & Albert Museum in Knightsbridge, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, houses a permanent collection of more than 4.5 million pieces. Free entrance is also available to the permanent exhibitions at the Tate Modern, with works by Picasso, Hockney and Warhol.
The streets of London are the backdrop against which Banksy, everyone’s favorite anonymous street artist creates his iconic work. Shoreditch is also renowned for its street art.
The world is filled with art and beauty. But if you are planning on moving abroad and are looking for a city that can fulfill your artistic cravings, these 7 cities will do the trick.