Learning more about art from travelling

Asako Maruoka's picture

If you’re a lover of art and you’re keen to expand your horizons, travelling to see it in person can be an incredible experience. Both travel and art broaden the mind, so why not combine geographical and intellectual journeys? Doing so will give you better recall of what you learn and will help you connect with it in a wholly different way, enriching every aspect of your life.

Learning more about art from travelling

Why see art in person?

Today, when you can see all kinds of works of art online – and often in 3D – some people question the sense of going to see art in person, but would you content yourself with a picture of the sun when you could be outside, enjoying the warmth of the real thing? Coming face to face with great works of art is moving in a way that observing them from a distance can never be. It’s also illuminating. Studying paintings closely, you can learn things about the brushwork that you never could otherwise, potentially improving your own technique in the process. The equivalent is true for other types of work.

Putting art in context

Art isn’t created in isolation. When you see it in the place that it has originated from, you can much more easily place it in cultural and historical context. You can relate it to the surrounding architecture and see the landscapes that inspired it. Tasting the same food and wine as the artist, hearing the same language spoken around you and even visiting the same music venues can enable you to relate to what you see much more intensely.

Historic European art destinations

If you want to see famous historical artworks, a trip to Europe is a must. Begin with Rome and Florence, where you can look upon centuries of artistic evolution in one place. Take in Vienna and Budapest to see the influence of Eastern traditions, or go all the way to St Petersburg to see the greatest collections of Russian art. Paris is essential, of course, being the art capital of the world, and you’ll find a treasure trove of Old Masters and challenging transitional works in Amsterdam.

Contemporary European art destinations

Just as Paris is celebrated for its historical treasures, it is home to a fascinating contemporary tradition centered on places like the Pompidou Center. In Barcelona, where surrealist art spills out onto the streets and into the parks, you can take in the birth of modern art. Zurich is home to fascinating spaces like the Galerie Gmurzynska, and London’s Museum of Modern Art is constantly showcasing the work of impressive new talents.

Art and community

The European art scene offers far more than learning opportunities. In cities like these, art isn’t seen as a thing of the past or the preserve of the elite. It’s a living, breathing part of today’s communities. Most galleries have shops and cafés where art lovers can socialize, many host talks and workshops by artists, and some offer short courses to visitors. The art world is something you can be a part of when you get out there and explore. And, if you have kids, it's a great way to teach them to love art and art museums