Over 144 million people flocked to art museums around the world in 2022. The ever-growing museum industry expects a global market share of $25.4 billion in 2023, predicted to swell to $74.8 billion in the next 10 years.
Humanity’s Obsession With the Arts
The immense popularity of museums highlights humans’ obsession with art. Viewing works from the past satisfies an inner desire to connect with our shared past and understand our place in the story of humanity.
Rod Mitchell, Registered Psychologist with Therapy Calgary Emotions Clinic, says, “Art is not just a reflection of human creativity, but a fundamental aspect of the human condition, connecting us with the timeless emotional experiences that define us as a species.”
Taylor Wilson, Certified Recovery Specialist and founder of Active Recovery Companions, notes, “Works from the past serve as a tangible link to our ancestors and shed light on different historical periods.” Wilson points out art’s ability to capture specific moments in time. This allows modern viewers to glimpse the lives, beliefs, and perspectives of those who came before us.
Psychologist Ryan Hetrick, CEO of Epiphany Wellness, explains, “It [art] provides a perspective on our current society, its values, and its advancements. By looking at the past, we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and where we are headed.”
I’ve Traveled the World To View Art
I fell in love with artistic expression as a child. In seventh grade, my art teacher dedicated an entire quarter’s lesson plan to the Impressionists. I was hooked. I grew up in Chicago, and I’d spend hours wandering the halls of the Art Institute, one of the highest-rated art museums in the world.
When I became an adult, I vowed to see the greatest masterpieces in the world in person. I’ve visited the Louvre in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York, the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and many other museums, cathedrals, and galleries worldwide.
Paris: More Than the Louvre; More Than ‘The Mona Lisa’
More than 7 million people visited the Louvre in 2022, making it the most visited art museum in the world. It’s home to the world’s most famous painting: Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Mona Lisa.
Tourists crowd the tiny room hosting the iconic piece, holding their phones above their heads to get a photo and pushing to the front like they’re in a mosh pit to get a better view of the tiny piece encased in glass. Meanwhile, they ignore the nearly 400,000 other objects displayed in the vast halls.
More than half of the Louvre’s visitors skipped Paris’s smaller Musee d’Orsay in 2022, meaning they also missed out on one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The Musee d’Orsay features Van Gogh’s original version of Starry Night, sometimes called Starry Night Over the Rhone, painted just a few months before its more famous sister, on display at The Met in New York.
The Musee d’Orsay has over 300 works by Van Gogh, which, due to his masterful brushstrokes and brilliant layering, are infinitely more enjoyable when viewed in person. It also has hundreds of works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, and other influential artists of the period. It’s a can’t-miss if you’re visiting Paris.
Expanding your horizons isn’t limited to Paris. Consider visiting smaller galleries and museums wherever you roam to enjoy the full extent of impressive works.
Art Is More Than Painting
When we think of great works of art, we typically think of the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, and Birth of Venus. However, that view discounts the vast diversity in human expression.
As a child, I couldn’t figure out why the great hall of Chicago’s Art Institute featured armor from the Middle Ages. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the artistry in all forms of human creation, from simple drawings to massive feats of architecture.
I’ve explored the ruins of Angkor Wat to take in the majesty of the massive temple complex. Everything from the fine-line details of the stone carvings to the impressive scale of the buildings themselves showcased humanity’s ingenuity.
Anything can be art. Admire the craftsmanship of a Qing Dynasty porcelain jug, marvel at the intricate details of a Medieval tapestry, and gape at the massive marble columns used in Greek architecture.
Enjoy great works of art in all their forms.
Sometimes It’s Worth the Crowd
No one enjoys being stuffed in a crowded room with hundreds of other travelers, but sometimes, it’s worthwhile when it allows you to see amazing feats of human achievement.
Tourists fill the tiny Sistine Chapel, forcing you to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers to glimpse Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the ceiling, but it’s worth every second.
Most people only see The Creation of Adam in the center panels, but being able to view the full story in all its glory is so mesmerizing that you hardly notice your neighbor.
There’s Amazing Art Everywhere
Not everyone can travel to see art, or was fortunate enough to grow up in a major city with a world-renowned art museum.
But art experiences are not limited to those busy locales. Cities across the country are investing in the arts. San Antonio, Texas celebrates the art of the Southwest in its Briscoe Western Art Museum. Fort Collins, Colorado offers free art in public places to expand the boundaries of art beyond museums. Indianapolis, Indiana has an art center for aspiring artists and an art museum boasting an extensive collection of works by famous artists such as Rembrandt and O’Keeffe.
Even small towns are investing in art experiences. Johnson City, Tennessee, makes art fun with its Wildabout Walkabout scavenger hunt. Loveland, Colorado is a hotspot for modern sculpture, while Columbia, Missouri, has a thriving arts district featuring working studios and public galleries.
Art is all around us, in our own backyards. You only need to look, and you’ll find it.
Embrace the Art Around You
Though impressive museums like the Louvre and The Met should stay on your bucket list, exploring the full range of artistic expression around you is vital.
Art surrounds us. Open your eyes to the creation around you to enjoy the full breadth of the human experience.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Melanie Allen | Wealth of Geeks undefined