Art & Travel
Few city names in the world are as evocative as Vienna. The birthplace of dynamic artistic and intellectual movements, the city of Haydn, Klimt, Freud, Strauss and a host of others (including Beethoven, who called Vienna home for the last 30-odd years of his life) was for a century or more the centre of European cultural life.
The contemporary art scene in Istanbul has witnessed an explosion in recent years. Some estimates place the number of commercial galleries at over 200 compared to just a dozen a decade or so ago and a stroll around the modern city reveals a proliferation of small, independent spaces.
Art has woven itself into the fabric of Chicago. Monumental pieces dominate its downtown plazas, some of its finest civic buildings are filled with it, galleries and art centres have helped transform neighbourhoods and tourists visiting its museums are spreading the news of its growing reputation.
We have Attila the Hun to thank for Venice. When his rampaging hordes entered Italy in the 5th century AD upon the collapse of the Roman Empire, the good citizens of the northeast plain took refuge on a hundred or so flat, marshy islands out in the lagoon at the edge of the Adriatic Sea.
Since Ireland’s ‘tiger economy’ hit the buffers a few years ago, Dublin’s art world has also suffered. However, this has not dampened the artistic spirit, and Irish artists have continued to produce quality work, resulting in a backlog which galleries are keen to move, often at favourable prices.
In the Raval district a few blocks from the city’s Gothic centre is the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Taking up one side of the Plaça dels Àngels (Angels’ Square), the gleaming, white, modern building, with its ground to roof glass facade flooding the interior with light, stands in contrast to the surrounding traditional architecture and narrow streets.
Nice is second only to Paris as the French city with most museums and galleries. Since the latter years of the 19th century the light, climate and lifestyle of the south of France have attracted some of the art world’s most legendary names and inspired them to create some of their best work.
Inconveniently for short stay visitors, two of Copenhagen’s ‘big three’ art museums are not in Copenhagen itself. While the Statens Museum for Kunst is quite central the city centre, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and the Arken Museum of Modern Art, both ground-breaking in their architecture and collections, are situated along the coast, north and south of the city respectively.
Germany’s third city after Berlin and Hamburg, Munich has been voted the one most Germans would prefer to live in. Munich’s post-war reconstruction has been aesthetically more successful than that of many other damaged European cities. An extensive, Italian-influenced 19th century building programme earned it the moniker of the ‘northernmost Italian city’, and much of that neo-Renaissance atmosphere remains.