Museum Quality


by Edward A. Mero

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Museum Quality

The World Class Museums

Uffizi & Pitti Gallery

Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, the fertile hotbed of artistic genius known as Florence is itself a museum.  Still, the storied city boasts many actual museums--but none contain holdings of such exquisite beauty as the linked Uffizi and Pitti Galleries, rivaling any in the world.

The Tate Gallery

The Tate Gallery is a work in progress. Although it began as one building on one site, the Tate is now a network of four major museums throughout England, and it is expanding. The conglomerate houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of art from the 16th century to the present day, along with modern and contemporary art from other countries.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum is actually two distinctive sites. Enjoying a sea breeze on a hilltop in Malibu (with a Pacific Palisades address), the Getty Villa is on par with any great Roman villa.  The building and grounds are spectacular—with lush sculpture gardens, turquoise pools, and sparkling fountains, the ideal setting for a collection dedicated to antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.  This location also serves as a state-of-the-art educational center.

The Barnes Collection

In new quarters in downtown Philadelphia, Albert C. Barnes’ collection remains an extraordinary representation of impressionist and early modernist European and American paintings, as well as African sculptures and Pennsylvania folk art.  The rooms remain true to the original suburban Merion, Pennsylvania, location, and the art is displayed in the unique Barnes style—containing double- and triple-hung walls, and a powerful mix of impressionist styles. More important, Matisse, Cézanne, and Van Gogh still rule.

The Frick Collection

The Frick mansion’s interior is one of those intimate gallery spaces that rival the artwork on display.  The gem-like rooms alone demand several unhurried visits. And the artwork is spectacular.  The Google Art Project (an online archive of museums around the world) includes the collection among its virtual tours, providing close-up and detailed visual access. Several of the Frick paintings featured have been masterfully reproduced by Prestige Fine Art.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Lion statues flanking the Art Institute’s main entrance on South Michigan Avenue are immediately recognizable, as is the large canvas upon entering:  Georges-Pierre Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte—as well as Gustave Caillebotte’s equally grand Paris Street, Rainy Day. this is one of the world’s most well-known museums, and it is America’s second-largest, behind only the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It grew from a small design studio on Dearborn Street founded by 35 artists, with a mission of becoming an art school and gallery, to an academy of fine arts after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. A little more than ten years afterward, it took the name that we know today and eventually settled at its present location.

The Philadelphia Museum Of Art

Although it is one of the largest museums in the United States, with world-class master works by some of the greatest American and European artists that ever lived, including French impressionists and post-impressionists, and an almost unrivaled collection of Asian art, it is the museum’s steps that have become a cultural icon--the staircase that Rocky Balboa ran up and down to get into shape.  The film hero’s bronze statue strikes a triumphant pose nearby.

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York City

A Fifth Avenue landmark, the “Met” is a virtual palace of art.  The building’s grand, sweeping staircase and Beaux-Arts façade are known the world over, and the awe-inspiring breadth of the museum’s collections--from wings dedicated to great paintings and sculpture throughout art history, to rare antiquities from the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires--is legendary.

The Louvre, Paris, France

The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, and it is truly a monument to art.  Its architecture and interior spaces are as renowned as its art collections, which encompass every aspect of Western art.  The building has evolved over 800 years and offers a concise history of French architecture.

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

Located on the National Mall of the nation’s capital, this museum was founded in 1937 for “we, the people.”  The original West building, with its stately columns and domed rotunda (modeled on Rome’s Pantheon) befits nearby Capitol Hill--not surprising since the neoclassical building was designed by architect John Russell Pope, who later created the Jefferson Memorial.  The collection includes paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture tracing Western art from the Middle Ages to today.   This building houses the only painting by Leonardo Di Vinci in the United States, a portrait titled Ginevra de’ Benci.

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