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The art of travelling

Though art is rather subjective, there’s generally a consensus on those paintings that have significant resonance and cultural impact, appealing to people regardless of their level of art appreciation.

We’re so used to seeing the world’s most famous masterpieces as posters, postcards, in books and even in parodies, that we sometimes forget that they’re actually somewhere on this planet. And, in many cases, if we wanted to, we can see the originals up close and personal.

Art and travel do have much in common. Both can be considered to expand the mind and broaden your horizons, and for some the experience can be life-changing. By exposing ourselves to different cultures and looking at things with alternative perspectives, we can garner a greater appreciation of the wonders that our world has to offer.

So if you’re looking to head out on an art trail, the Flexicover team has rounded up five of the world’s most well-known paintings and where to see them first-hand!.

The Kiss; Vienna, Austria

Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of two lovers in elaborate gilded robes entwined in a passionate embrace is so iconic that auctioneers believe it to be the most valuable painting in existence… if it were ever to go up for sale. But since 1909, this masterpiece of Viennese Art Noveau has been on public display in the Belvedere Palace in the Austrian capital. At a grand 1.8m x 1.8m (6ft by 6ft), it’s impressive in its scale as well as form. Consider the beauty of the gold-leaf detail, applied over oil paint which is said to have been inspired by Byzantine mosaics Klimt saw in Ravenna.

Irises; Los Angeles, California

There may be prettier paintings by Dutch master Van Gogh but when it comes to emotional impact, Irises is second-to-none, which is why it’s one to see first-hand at the J. Paul Getty Museum. This famed painting was composed in 1889, soon after the troubled artist committed himself to an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in France and the year before his death; the irises in question were in the asylum’s garden. The artist himself considered it juxtaposition between the beauty he saw and his inner torment, feeling that he could stave off insanity by continuing to paint.

Mona Lisa; Paris, France

Arguably the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa sits in one of the most renowned museums – the Louvre in Paris. Though the warren-like museum houses plenty of masterworks, it’s Leonardo da Vinci’s signature painting that is the primary draw for visitors – especially to confirm reports that the enigmatic figure’s smiling eyes follow you around the room. It can be hard to tell, though, as the painting is small and sits behind a glass screen and droves of people, so try to visit off-season and early in the day for the best chance to experience it.

Girl with a Pearl Earring; The Hague, Netherlands

Johannes Vermeer’s defining painting of a pale girl with bright headscarf, exotic dress and a large pearl earring has sparked a world of wonder, inspiring a book and then a movie of the same name as well as a parody by Banksy. It’s an excellent example of the Dutch classical style called tronie, estimated to have been completed around 1665. It’s well worth the trip to see it at the Mauritshuis Museum, which also has a very significant collection of Rembrandts. The painting has been housed there since 1902 and after a recent worldwide tour the museum declared that it will not be leaving again.

The Persistence of Memory; New York, USA

This 1931 painting by Salvador Dali, featuring melting clocks on a beach, is heralded as the greatest surrealist painting and it’s certainly one that expands our imaginations. Influenced by Freud, his native Catalonia and some mind-bending experiences, the work brings together his best-known calling cards, like self-portrait, soft clocks with dripping faces, ants as a symbol of decay and the theme of time. That said, Dali described it as being a perception of a Camembert melting in the sun! Whatever you choose to take away from it, you can observe it at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

As well as seeing these masterpieces first hand, you can enjoy a break in their host cities and continue to expand your horizons. Be it a break that is for just a few days or a week or more, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day when away.