Art Aficionados Have a World of Choices to Explore
It doesn’t take an art history degree to appreciate the 17-foot marble marvel that is David. Nor does one need to be a collector to recognize the immense influence the Medici Family had on bringing Renaissance masters into the spotlight. And Van Gogh’s genius may well have been misunderstood, but there is no mistaking the vibrancy of his creativity. It could be said that Europe itself is a wide canvas that has been filled over centuries with masterpieces that are treasured beyond value and today fill the bucket lists of travelers around the world. In 2019 and 2020, dozens of voyages aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity transport you to the epicenter of artistic movements, from classical to contemporary, haute couture to architectural.
Here, we’re sharing some of the top havens to which art lovers of all kinds must flock, with Crystal voyages often encompassing several in a single itinerary, creating the ultimate culture trip.
Arguably the destination for pilgrimages of art and creativity, Florence is largely defined by the masters who made their mark there. It is the cradle of the Renaissance, with evidence of this rebirth still adorning the interiors and façades throughout the city. There are few other places in the world where religious, political and artistic history are so closely knit, as chronicled by the works in the Galleria dell ‘Academia, Medici Chapels and Uffizi Gallery. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli and Donatello are just the marquee names of the creations here, while countless other masters’ works present new discoveries for travelers.
The art of Florence is not limited to museum walls and halls. Look to the apex of Brunelleschi’s Il Duomo at the Porta della Mandorla, or the impossibly innovative design of Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library, and in the countless piazzas in between.
A city of thousands of colors, millions of hand-painted tiles and infinite jaw-dropping vistas can’t help but be packed with creative works of beauty and curiosity. Lisbon is an artistic delight of Portuguese culture and history, with museums celebrating its own heritage, as well as several with eclectic exhibitions where Degas, Rembrandt and Ruben seem right at home. The National Azulejos Museum is dedicated to those charming tiles that adorn the avenues of the city, while the MUDE (Musuo do Design e da Moda) is all about the dramatic influence of fashion through the years. Don’t miss the Berardo Collection Museum during any visit to the Belém Cultural Center, where Lichtenstein, Picasso, Duchamp and Warhol are among the stars.
Here, “street art” doesn’t mean defiantly colorful graffiti depicting clashing generational and political rally cries. In Barcelona, the street art takes the curious 3D shapes of Antoni Gaudí’s most prominent works- seven of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From La Sagrada Familia’s crimson glass to the mosaic walls of Parque Güell the artist’s imagination is on display as you explore the city. There’s even more to explore indoors, where galleries like Joan Prats showcase Avant Garde contemporary works; the beloved Picasso Museum celebrates its genius namesake; and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya displays a massive collection of Catalan art from the 12th to 20th centuries.
Old and new collide beautifully here, in a fascinating landscape of artistic hotspots that range from Rembrandt to Richter. The most famous Dutch art houses are an ideal place to start – see Van Gogh’s French and Japanese influences in Almond Blossoms and the reality of peasant life in The Potato Eaters at the artist’s namesake museum; and Rembrandt’s self portrait and famed The Night Watch at Rijksmuseum. But fast forward a few centuries to present day and you’ll find numerous galleries that celebrate the thriving contemporary art scene in Amsterdam. The Stedelijk Museum is the leading house of modern art, while local galleries focus on the works of local talents like Annet Gelink and Fons Welters. Also look for evolving artist residencies that pop up throughout the city.
Embark on an exploration of European and global art aboard Crystal Cruises; delve into the most famous sites with hundreds of Destination Discoveries, or choose your own exploration with Crystal Private Adventures.