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By The Virtual Tourist
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but why not try to behold as much as possible? With this in mind, the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com were asked to name the pieces of art they think everyone should see. While not everyone agreed on the choices, most participants concurred that seeing a famous work of art in real life is a completely different experience from seeing a reproduction.
1. GUERNICA, PABLO PICASSO, MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFIA, MADRID, SPAIN
Although many who nominated this very famous, symbolic work admitted it was not among their aesthetic favorites, all agreed from a thought-provoking standpoint, this was a must-see. First unveiled in 1937, the mural denounces that year's bombing of a small, defenseless town in the Basque region of Spain.
2. THE KISS, GUSTAV KLIMT, BELVEDERE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
The Belvedere may own the largest collection of Klimt's in the world, but for sheer star power, nothing beats this piece. When the artist died at the relatively young age of 56, he left behind many unfinished works, this one, happily not among them.
3. PARIS STREET, RAINY DAY, GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO, ILL.
Content aside, the first thing that strikes most viewers upon seeing Caillebotte's masterpiece is its enormous size. At 9-feet-wide it certainly helps to accentuate the scope of the city's boulevards, which were new at the time of the painting. In spite of its proportions, many who see it note the details, like the earring of the woman in the foreground, are what make it most notable.
4. NIGHT WATCH, REMBRANDT, RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
At 14-feet-wide Rembrandt's masterpiece eclipses even Caillebotte's enormous Paris portrait. Dark, complicated, and evocative, the painting is noted for representing members of the military in action, rather than in their standard posed portraits.
5. A SUNDAY AFTERNOON ON THE ISLAND OF LA GRANDE JATTE, GEORGE SEURAT, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO, ILL.
It's spawned a Broadway musical, endless parodies, and more college dorm room posters than can be imagined, but those who've seen this pointillism masterpiece close up say nothing beats the original. Amazing what just a few little dots can do.
6. THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY, MUSEE DE LA TAPISSERIE DE BAYEAUX, BAYEUX, FRANCE
More than 224-feet-long, this gargantuan piece of art may be one of the most incredible pieces of needlework ever created. Started in 1066, the work was said to have been created by monks, after all, who else would have that much patience?
7. THE SISTINE CHAPEL CEILING, MICHELANGELO, VATICAN CITY, ITALY
Even Sean Maguire, the psychiatrist in "Good Will Hunting" mentions the world's most famous ceiling as an absolute must-see in life. Having undergone an extensive and controversial restoration in the '80s and '90s, the ceiling is now considerably more vivid than in years past.
8. PARDON IN BRITTANY, GASTON LA TOUCHE, ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO, ILL.
Chalk up another one for the Art Institute of Chicago! Although not as well known as many of the other artists on this list, La Touche certainly makes himself known to all who view this very mysterious painting of a candle-wielding crowd.
9. WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE, MUSEE DU LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE
Audrey Hepburn fans will instantly recognize this magnificent piece as the backdrop for one of Hepburn's photo shoots in the classic movie "Funny Face." Found on a small island in the Aegean in 1863, the work was originally meant to stand at the front of a ship.
10. THE MONA LISA, DA VINCI, MUSEE DU LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE
The lines to get in are usually endless, the building can get very stuffy, and chances are you'll have to fight with other tourists for even a quick glimpse, but the truth is, there is nothing like seeing the world's most famous painting in the flesh. While we struggled with including this most obvious of choices, ultimately, this painting is just in a class by itself.
© VirtualTourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.
Travel | Top 10 Works of Art Everyone Should See