One of the greatest pleasures for many visitors to Europe is the opportunity to experience its rich artistic traditions and treasures. What’s especially exciting about art in Europe (especially Italy, France and Spain), is that you never know where or when you will encounter a masterpiece.
Because centers of power have shifted many times over the years, even the smallest village could be hiding a Caravaggio, a Picasso or a Monet, while galleries and museums offering contemporary and avant-garde works can be found at nearly every turn. Whatever your tastes may be, you don’t need to be in Florence, Paris or Madrid to see some truly remarkable works of art. Here are our top picks for off-the-beaten-track galleries, in some of our favourite regions.
Musée Granet – Aix-en-Provence, France
Aix-en-Provence was the home to Paul Cezanne, and its tranquil landscape served as an inspiration to many of The Impressionists, including Vincent Van Gogh. This museum houses an impressive collection of works not only by Cezanne, but by other masters such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Matisse, Klee and Mondrian, as well as older pieces from the Egyptian and Roman empires.
In partnership with The Louvre, the Granet Museum is currently presenting the Egyptian collection as part of the “Pharaoh, Osiris and the Mummy” exhibition. Major pieces such as bas reliefs from the great pyramid of Cheops, several first-rate stelae, a sarcophagus and its mummy, the extraordinary mummy of a monitor lizard of the Nile, among other monumental pieces will be on display until September 26, 2021.
Dali Theatre-Museum – Figueres, Spain
The Dalí Theatre-Museum — the largest surrealistic object in the world — occupies the building of the former Municipal Theatre, a 19th century construction that was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The entire collection is composed of thousands of objects dating from all the different periods of Dalí’s life, reflecting an enormous diversity of techniques, materials and media: paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings, installations, jewelry, holograms, photography and so on.
Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci – Prato, Italy
Located about 40 minutes outside of Florence in the city of Prato, this impressive contemporary art gallery and education centre is a must-stop for lovers of the avant-garde. It includes more than 1,000 artworks by over 300 artists, particularly works by members of the Arte Povera movement and the Italian and international Transavantgarde, as well as photography and artwork from the former Soviet Union.
This summer, PECCI SUMMER returns, a festival that brings concerts , meetings and performances to the open-air theatre of the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art throughout the month. It’s in its fourth edition and well worth a visit if you’re visiting Tuscany this July.