5 Most Artistic Cities in the World

There’s no doubt that some cities across the world are an artist’s paradise. Filled with the world’s greatest works and home to some of the best performers of our time, these cities are more than likely on your bucket list if you are an artist or an art connoisseur. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest artistic cities in the world, and why you absolutely have to visit them.

1. New York City, USA
New York City boasts a wide variety of artistic forms, from fine art to the performing arts. NYC is also home to more fine art schools, performing arts companies, art dealers and creative museums and businesses than any other city in the US.

Manhattan is an artistic adventure like no other. Home to world-famous institutions, such as the Guggenheim Museum, an incredible work of art in itself, along with a variety of other hot spots.

Immerse yourself in the local street art and contemporary galleries of Bushwick in Brooklyn. Queens is an unmissable attraction hosting the Queens Museum and the incredible Socrates Sculpture Garden.

2. Paris, France
Another art lover’s paradise has got to be Paris, France! Home to over 1,000 galleries, the city is filled with iconic art. The most notable is The Louvre which houses the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci. There is also an array of contemporary galleries to impress an artist. These include veterans such as Galerie Daniel Templon, to the newer Modus Art Gallery and La Maison Rouge. The Belleville neighborhood is also a must-visit destination for vibrant street art. The City of Light is jam-packed with art around every corner.

3. São Paulo, Brazil
The art capital of Latin America, São Paulo may not be as acclaimed as New York City or Paris, but the Brazilian megalopolis is overflowing with artistic attractions. Home to the second largest biennial, the venerable São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo is a must for your bucket list. The Museu de Arte Moderna showcases both modern and contemporary Brazilian art, as well sculpture gardens with 30 incredible works. If local, emerging talent is what you’re after, then galleries like Choque Cultural are where you need to be.

4. Berlin, Germany
One of the most varied art scenes in the world, Berlin is home to some of the longest-standing institutions. These include the Alte Nationalgalerie and Gemäldegalerie which showcase classic pieces from the 13th to 19th centuries. Modern 20th-century art collections can be found in the more-recently established Neue Nationalgalerie.

If alternative art is more your style, then Friedrichshain is the place to go for spaces like East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that now displays the work of more than 100 international artists. Jonathan Borofsky’s sculpture, Molecule Man, is another must if you’re in Berlin.

5. Lagos, Nigeria
The largest city in Nigeria, Lagos, is fast emerging as a hotspot in the art world. Its thriving cultural scene is led by the Centre for Contemporary Art and the African Artists’ Foundation. The annual Lagos Photo Festival and National Art Competition are also attracting worldwide attention. With a variety of galleries like Omenka Gallery, you can delve into masterpieces by the best Nigerian and international artists.

Different World Views of Art

Art through the centuries acquired different forms and conceptions. First of all there was naturalism, then developed romanticism, and then there was impressionism, followed by cubism, which was followed by surrealism and finally trends moved on to postmodern art. Here I would like to provide my understanding on various schools of art.

Naturalism proceeded out of mimesis. The aim of art was to mimic nature. A classic example of mimetic art would Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa lives through the ages for its enigmatic style. Another example would be the Last Supper by Da Vinci. Art became permeated heavily with religious motifs. What has naturalism contributed to the world? An answer would be representation of a mimetic ethos. There is very little to interpret in naturalistic art but we can admire its imitation of nature. I would also like to take Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. What would a postmodern interpretation take? It would perhaps couch it as being gay.

Another style of art that developed during the 18th century was romanticism. What is romanticism? The poet Wordsworth defined romanticism as the spontaneous overflow of feelings. Romanticism captured feelings on to the canvas. The canvas became permeated in rich colors of the baroque. Romantic painting is fanciful and ornamental. When we think of romanticism in the postmodern age we encounter a catharsis with the past. Goya’s exhibit: Saturn devouring his son can be taken as a classic example. The grotesque Saturn is portrayed as an admirable beauty. Romantic painters are endowed with passionate neurosis. Feelings and emotions lie with us to contemplate in ravishment.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 19th century was impressionism. The great masters of impressionism are Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. Impressionism is a unique style of art. Impression is marked by a wide usage of brilliant colors. Strokes were left like scars on the canvas. Impressionism was marked by a tendency of art to become modern. Van Gogh was a brilliant artist who etched out paintings in a style that marked a departure from his predecessors. When we look at Van Gogh’s starry night, we get a passion that is akin to listening of music. Similarly Gauguin’s painting: ‘where do we come from and where do we go’, highlights mythical allegories in brilliant dashes of color.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 20th century was Cubism. Its master exponent was Picasso. With the advent cubism art left its mimetic modes and became the sole creation of the artist. Cubism had a tendency to portray art in abstract terms. Picasso’s La Demoiselles D’ Avignon presented harlots. Their features especially their breasts, hips and asses were made incongruous with oedipal fantasies. Another notable creation of Picasso was the Guernica. Guernica is fantastic rendition of the horrors of bombing Basque, presented in abstract terms. When we look at Guernica we become fascinated to the point of disgust. Cubism highlighted that art can be repulsive.

The next school of art which developed by the middle of the 20th century was Surrealism. My most loved surrealistic artists are Dali and Paul Delvaux. Dali’s most famous painting is the ‘persistence of memory’. Surrealism following Freudian psychoanalysis attempted to portray art with a conglomeration of reality and fantasy. In the painting, persistence of memory, we find melting clocks hanging on trees and covered by an embryo. The tree can be symbolized as a phallic construct. The melting clocks portray time as flowing with the literature of streams of consciousness. The embryo can represent the artist’s oedipal trauma. Delvaux most famous painting is the call of the night. In the ‘call of the night’ a barren land is seen with skulls. There is a nude standing on the open with luscious vegetation growing on her head. There is also a nude whose head is covered standing outside a building with a candle on her head. Delvaux is trying to portray ancient fertility rites in modernistic terms. The painting can also be interpreted as a sexual awakening. Thus surrealism attempted to portray dream with reality.

Next I would like to focus on postmodern art. Postmodern art is contemporary and tends to be a rebellion against existing artistic norms. In postmodern art normal objects are presented in unusual terms. For an example: we can take Marcel Duchamp’s inverted urinal. Postmodern art is also famous for inventing pop-art, where cartoons, comic strips and consumer products were drawn as artistic representations. Another interesting example of postmodern art is Rodin’s thinker. The thinker can be interpreted in two ways. One in a way that a person has constipation, another as an intellectual poised in thought. Postmodern art freed art from all inhibitions and pre-existing conceptions.

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