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Spring Break 2013 in a Museum?

Museo Prado hall, Madrid

A list went out earlier this week of “100 Museums to See Before You Die” which got me thinking about my next trip.  While this particular list of museums is in no way exhaustive (no Egyptian Museum, no Chicago Art Institute, etc, etc!), it made me realize there are huge clusters of amazing museums I’ve never seen because there are many major international cities I still haven’t visited.  I’m itching for an easy to plan “Spring Break” and what better way to spend a potentially rainy week in March than in museums!  My only problem is deciding where to go….

Madrid, Spain

Museo Prado hall, Madrid

Central gallery, Museo del Prado, Madrid (Photo: Turismo Madrid, flickr)

The major international museum all seem to have some of the Spanish greats, but if you really want to see a collection of them, you have to visit them at home.  There is an enviously high number of El Greco, Murillo, Zurbarán, Ribera, Goya and glorious Velaquez paintings at the Museo del Prado, the national Spanish art museum.  This institution seems like a shrine to the earthy toned, emotionally intense and naturalistic style that flourished in Spain spanning approximately 200 years.  Their 15 Masterpiece list is impressive! I will also need to see the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza which houses a well-rounded collection of Italian, Northern Renaissance and Spanish paintings.  At this rate, I’ll had better book a simple hostel and save all my money for museum admissions, reproduction poster and tapas!

London, United Kingdom

Great Court in the British Museum, London

Great Court in the British Museum, London (Photo: Klafubra, Wikimedia)

Given the density of museums, it may be possible to a spend an entire week in London completely in museums (which is a shame because the city is suppose to be quite fun).  I think I would start in the British Museum with their fantastic Egyptian collection, Middle Eastern galleries and the original Parthenon marbles.  I would have to admire the impressive of European paintings in the National Gallery including Leonardo da Vinci’s second copy of the Virgin of the Rocks.  When I’m ready for more 19th century work and the lovely Pre-Raphaelites, there’s the Tate Britain.  Another day could be spend comparing historical objects in the Victoria and Albert Museum with the creative, contemporary objects at the Design Museum.  Then if I still have time, I would like to visit the recently redeveloped Museum of London to see the history and archaeology of a city active since the prehistoric era.

Francisco Goya, Third of May 1808, Prado

Would I rather see this? Francisco Goya’s “Third of May 1808” at the Museo del Prado, Madrid

Hunting image from the Tomb of Nebamun, British Museum

Or would I rather see this? Hunting image from the Tomb of Nebamun at the British Museum, London

I have no doubt that the museums of Madrid and London would keep me busy.  Hopefully I will be able to pick on city in the next few weeks and will be off on a museum-filled Spring Break!

This post was sponsored, but text and views are my own.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love the British museum but the V&A is my favourite museum in the world. The best thing about the English museums is that they are free!


    February 8, 2013
    • I love free museums. Hurray frugal travel! 😉 Good to know V&A comes so highly recommended!


      February 12, 2013
      • If you are into costume, furniture and design type stuff it is brilliant. If you want to look at mummies and stuffed animals it’s not.


        February 12, 2013
      • I like costumes, furniture and design stuff. Thanks for the tips!


        February 14, 2013
  2. If your choice is Madrid, take into account that during the month of March you can visit outstanding exhibitions (free entrance, very close to the Prado/Thyssen area) in “Fundación Mapfre”, Paseo de Recoletos 23:

    The exhibition Impressionists and Post-Impressionists: The Birth of Modern Art (final years of Impressionism and the Post-Impressionist movement through 78 masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris):

    Bohemian lights:

    There are quite a few outstanding museums in Madrid, but somebody as Picassian as you should visit Pablo Picasso (Guernica …) and friends (Dalí, Miró, Casas …) at the Reina Sofía Museum …


    February 8, 2013
    • Thank you! I forgot to include these smaller but enjoyable museums and special exhibits.


      February 12, 2013
  3. wanderfulltraveler #

    I love Goya. He has left an impression on me that is indefinable. His work often makes me feel so uncomfortable but I can’t help but look at his brushwork and thinking about the sometimes tragic stories his work tells.

    Have you been to Paris? I will have to search your website but if you have I would love some tips on museum hopping. You could even win a giveaway in the process at my website. But otherwise I have heard of this museum pass that gets you into Versailles, Louvre, Pompidou etc.



    February 8, 2013
    • Absolutely, there is something dark, almost macabre about Goya’s later works but you can’t help but keep looking.

      I’ve been to Paris a few time, but have only posted about one layover there. (I’ll need to fix that soon.) I’d love to go back to Paris though, the Cluny Museum was closed for renovations the last two times I has in Paris.


      February 9, 2013

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