Art museums offer the space necessary to display a wide range of art, from sculptures to paintings. These buildings may be either publicly or privately owned and often host a number of other activities, including concerts and performance art. They are located all over the world. This article takes a look at the largest art museums by area.
The Louvre, located in Paris, France, is the largest art museum in the world with an area size of 782,910 square feet. This museum is considered a historic monument in Paris and is part of the Louvre Palace, which was built in the 12th century. This building first served as a fortress before becoming a royal residence in 1546. Under King Louis XIV in 1692, this palace was used to house two art academies and 100 years later, the Louvre Museum was opened with 537 paintings. Today, it is home to around 38,000 pieces. The Louvre is also the most visited museum in the world, receiving 7.4 million visitors every year.
2. State Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage Museum, located in St. Petersburg, Russia, is the second largest art museum in the world. It has a total area of 719,480 square feet. This museum, one of the oldest in the world, was established in 1754 and opened for public attendance in 1852. It is comprised of 6 historic building that sit along the Palace Embankment on the Neva River. The buildings that are open to the public include the: Hermitage Theater, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and Winter Palace. The State Hermitage Museum is home to a collection of over 3 million pieces, including the largest painting collection in the world.
3. National Museum of China
The third largest museum in the world is the National Museum of China. Located along Tiananmen Square in Beijing, this site covers an area of 700,000 square feet. This museum was created after the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History merged in 1959. Its chief objective is to educate the public and promote the history and arts of China. The National Museum of China houses 1.05 million pieces in its permanent collection, including the heaviest piece of bronzeware in the world, the 1,836-pound Simuwu Ding. The museum itself is located on 16 acres in a 4-story building with 28 exhibition halls.
4. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The fourth largest museum in the world is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which covers an area of 633,100 square feet. It was opened in February 1872 and is located on Fifth Avenue. Today, this museum is in a building that is 20 times larger than the original and located on the border of Central Park. It is home to more than 2 million pieces which are located throughout 16 departments. The permanent collection of this museum covers everything from Ancient Egypt to Islamic art and from European paintings to Greek and Roman art. Additionally, it is known for its large collection of musical instruments. In 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art received approximately 6.7 million visitors.
The chart published below has a complete list of the 20 largest art museums in the world.