So, the time has come for you to cross yet another city off your travel bucket list. Whether you’re pressed for time or your itinerary is overflowing, we’ve chosen one must-see artwork in some of the world’s most popular destinations.
Located at the Museo del Prado, The Garden of Earthly Delights is one of the most whimsical works of art on record. When Bosch completed his masterpiece 500 years ago, it terrified and captivated God-fearing audiences with curious creatures and otherworldly vessels. Five centuries on, the timeless triptych’s surreal dreamscapes retain the power to utterly enrapture.
Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia depicts Act IV, Scene VII of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Ophelia drowns herself upon discovering that Hamlet (her lover) murdered her father. On view at Tate Britain, Ophelia is an icon of the Pre-Raphaelite movement from mid-19th century England, which sought a return to the natural, spiritual details present in medieval art.
The ultimate symbol of division serves as the German capital’s most important work of collaborative public art. The Berlin Wall was erected in August 1961 to shield the socialist state in the East from Western intervention. The concrete barrier employed as a physical and ideological blockade for nearly 30 years stood strong until November 1989, when free access between borders was finally granted as the Cold War declined. Over two million people stormed the wall to participate in its destruction, but some of the remains are still on view. The East Side Gallery exhibits the longest stretch of the wall, named as such for the preserved murals and graffiti art.
A stunning combination of Art Nouveau and Symbolism, Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss employs an arresting confluence of geometric patterns with natural adornments and a timeless sentiment. Painted during the Austrian artist’s so-called “Golden Period,” Klimt’s magnum opus is on view in the Österreichische Galerie in Vienna’s grand Belvedere Palace.
Though it remains unfinished nearly a century after Antoni Gaudí’s death, the Sagrada Familia is widely regarded as the Catalan architect’s most important work. Standing tall at the harmonious convergence of art, architecture, religion and nature, the Spanish temple is a prized landmark that is hopefully due for completion, under the guise of architect Jordi Faulí, in 2026—100 years after Gaudí’s death.
Marino Marini’s sexually-charged sculpture greets the Grand Canal with arms outstretched. Part of Peggy Guggenheim’s landmark collection of modern art, The Angel of the City depicts a figure in euphoria atop what appears to be a stunted, strained horse. The sculpture is not only a must-see as a seminal work by the celebrated Italian artist, but for its breathtaking location on the bank of the Grand Canal.
Also known as the Prague orloj, the Prague astronomical clock is the oldest of its kind still in operation. Installed on the southern façade of the Old Town Hall, the mechanism is comprised of an astronomical dial, a procession of Apostles, and a calendar dial, adorned with Gothic sculptures. Every hour, tourists gather to witness the clock’s mechanical performance, which has served as a medieval wonder for over 600 years.
One of only 34 authenticated paintings by the celebrated Delft painter Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid is a luminous composition depicting a young domestic servant carrying out her kitchen duties. Vermeer is regarded for his exceptional attention to detail, which consistently lends a photographic quality to his oeuvre. A staple artwork of the Dutch Golden Age, The Milkmaid is a Rijksmuseum highlight.
Forged from a singular block of white Carrara marble, Michelangelo’s depiction of the Biblical hero as a standing nude is a must-see at Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia. Pensive, David prepares for his legendary battle with Goliath, his eyes gazing towards Rome. Sculpted at a time when Florence was threatened by rival city-states and powerful families, a then-26-year-old Michelangelo made history with his breathtaking portrayal of the male form.
Want more art inspiration? These American artworks were so controversial they shocked the world!