For fans of art, the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest paintings in history is an exciting one. Many of the most famous artists to have ever lived graced the streets of cities in Europe, leaving behind a legacy that includes their iconic works, former homes and studios, and the places they used to frequent.
Here are some beautiful European destinations where you can retrace the steps of famous artists.
Van Gogh In Arles
Although he was born in the Netherlands and spent time in London, Paris and Belgium, it was whilst he was living in Arles that Vincent van Gogh developed the style and vibrant colour palette for which he became known. Visitors to this beautiful French city on the Rhone River can visit many sights related to the great man by following the Van Gogh Trail.
There are 10 stops along the tour, including the place where his Yellow House once stood; the café depicted in ‘Café Terrace at Night’, which has since been renamed in his honour and refurbished to resemble the painting once more; and the hospital where he was treated after cutting off a portion of his ear.
Picasso In Barcelona
Picasso has links to Malaga, where he was born, and the small town of Horta de Sant Joan, but it was Barcelona that he regarded as his true home. The most famous place to see his influence is at the Museo Picasso, which houses an extensive collection of his paintings and highlights the fact that there is so much more to his work than Cubism.
However, there are many other connections throughout this great city. Some of these include ‘Els Quatre Gats Café’, a famous meeting point for local artists during the modernist period; the house Picasso’s family lived in when they first moved to Barcelona, on Paseo de Isabel II; and the former site of the studio on Calle Nou de la Rambla where he painted many of his works during the Blue Period.
Albrecht Durer In Nuremberg
As well as painting, Durer is well known for his prints and copper engravings. In fact, he was a true Renaissance man, turning his hand to everything he could and constantly seeking to learn something new. In his hometown of Nuremberg, you can visit Albrecht Dürer's House, which has been lovingly turned into a museum displaying some of his most famous works. This timber-framed home was where he spent the last 19 years of his life and an actress playing his wife will show you around.
An interesting story lies behind the self-portrait of Durer in Nuremberg’s Germanisches Nationalmuseum. This is actually a forgery. The real painting was given to Abraham Kuffner in 1799 to make a copy, but he kept the original and sent the copy back. The actual portrait now hangs in the walls of Munich’s Alte Pinakothek. In the north of the city, at the Johannisfriedhof cemetery, you can also pay your respects at Durer’s burial site.
Edvard Munch In Oslo
Most famous for ‘The Scream’, Edvard Munch spent his early and late years in Oslo. The man himself left all of the works in his possession to the city and so thousands of them can be found lining the halls of the Munch Museum and The National Gallery. The former is an extensive gallery built close to where Munch grew up and housing over half of all the paintings he ever produced – including ‘Madonna’ and versions of the ‘The Scream’. However, the most famous version of this painting can be found in the National Gallery along with many other pieces from his early life. A new home for his masterpieces, Lambda, is due to open in 2020.
For more links to Munch, head to Karl Johans gate in the city centre. This is where his first studio was located and where he used to hang out with other artists in Grand Café. The road also features in a number of his paintings, such as ‘Spring Day on Karl Johan Street’ and ‘Evening on Karl Johan Street’. You can also see many of Munch’s childhood addresses in the district of Grünerløkka, as well as his final resting place in the Cemetery of Our Saviour.
Renoir In Essoyes
The French village of Essoyes may not be as much of a draw as Barcelona or Oslo, but for fans of Pierre Auguste Renoir, it is well worth a visit. Located close to the Burgundy region, this peaceful, picture-postcard destination was the hometown of Renoir’s wife and model, Aline Charigot. After holiday here for many years, she finally managed to persuade her love to move here permanently, something Renoir was happy to do thanks to the slow pace of life and beautiful landscapes.
Being a small village, Essoyes is almost entirely dedicated to the artist, with multiple points of interest attracting visitors from far and wide. In 2017, a museum displaying original furnishings, completed works and stories of the man behind the canvas opened in Renoir’s former home. Elsewhere, you can visit Renoir’s workshop, complete with a garden inspired by his paintings, as well as The Renoir Foundation, home to biographical writings about his life. A single ticket can be bought that will allow entry into all three attractions and an easy to navigate trail connects them all.
Botticelli In Florence
Born as Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, Sandro Botticelli was lovingly known by his nickname meaning ‘little barrel’. One of Florence’s many artistic sons, he lived all of his life in this beautiful city and now it shares many links to his life and works. Most famously, his painting of ‘The Birth of Venus’ hangs in the Uffizi Gallery alongside other notable pieces such as ‘Pallas and the Centaur’ and ‘Primavera’.
The neighbourhood of Santa Maria Novella and Via del Porcellana are both home to two of the Botticelli’s residences. It was whilst living on Via del Porcellana that he met Simonetta, a beautiful woman who modelled for him on many occasions. Finally, you can visit the family vault inside the Franciscan church of Ognissanti, where Botticelli and his family are laid to rest. Many devoted fans come here to leave love letters and pay their respects.
Monet In Giverny
Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny has become a popular attraction for fans of the man himself and art in general. Visited on river cruises along the Seine or during a Paris city break, the artist’s former home was a great source of inspiration for his paintings and is now a great link to his life. The waterlilies on the pond, the Japanese bridge swathed in wisterias and the Orangerie were all depicted with the brush and are all just as beautiful in the flesh.
Monet adapted, expanded and developed the complex in many ways to suit his lifestyle and interests. You will be able to see his workshop and the very rooms he lived in with his family. These are decorated in bright colours, inspired by Japanese décor and feature original furniture and reproductions of his works.
If you would like to visit any of these artistic destinations, we can help you follow in the footsteps of these iconic visionaries. Call us on 0800 988 3369 to plan your European city break or click here to submit an enquiry online.