Most Popular Art Museums in the World

The Art Newspaper has released their annual list of the most popular art museums in the world, with the Louvre in Paris coming in first place with an estimated 8,300,000 visitors.

The most popular exhibition was at the Tokyo National Museum in Japan which attracted more than 10,000 people each day. It was more of a single painting than an exhibition, which makes the figure even more remarkable. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Annunciation” was loaned by the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation painting

“For the fourth year running, the Tokyo National Museum tops the list. Tokyo routinely produces enormous visitor figures, thanks to a combination of vast exhibition spaces and a 35 million-strong conurbation. But “Leonardo” was even higher than 2005’s record-breaking attendance for “Hokusai” at the same museum, which averaged 9,436 a day.” Art Newspaper

Here’s the top 20 most popular art museums in the world compiled by Art Newspaper. The list below includes the number of visitors, name of the museum, and the city that the museum is located in.

8,300,000 – Louvre Paris
5,509,425 – Centre Pompidou Paris
5,191,840 – Tate Modern London
4,837,878 – British Museum London
4,547,353 – Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
4,518,413 – National Gallery of Art Washington
4,310,083 – Vatican Museums Vatican City
4,159,485 – National Gallery London
3,166,509 – Musée d’Orsay Paris
2,652,924 – Museo Nacional del Prado Madrid
2,650,551 – National Palace Museum Taipei
2,435,300 – Victoria and Albert Museum London
2,395,075 – State Hermitage Museum St Petersburg
2,232,475 – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow
2,219,554 – Museum of Modern Art New York
2,133,149 – Field Museum Chicago
1,772,255 – Tokyo National Museum Tokyo
1,674,607 – CaxiaForum Barcelona Barcelona
1,650,000 – Moscow Kremlin Museums Moscow
1,649,969 – Museum of Fine Arts Houston

There’s a PDF file of the full list of art museums, exhibitions, and how the list is compiled here.

I probably should get out of the house (Australia) more often as I haven’t visited any of the top 20 art museums of the world. My problem is that when I do leave Australia it is to countries that are not known for their impressive art collections. Not everything is about art though.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. If you are looking for famous art and record crowds in your vicinity, it surely has not escaped your attention that, of this list, the closest to your locale is the excellent National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

  2. I was surprised that that the Houston Museum was in the Top 20, I guess I need to make a trip out to Texas!

  3. I’ve been to 9 of the top 20 (Paris, London and NY)and to be honest, I found them rather disapointing. I like to just sit and look, but with so much tourist traffic constantly blocking the view it can be very frustrating – for example when I saw the Mona Lisa. They’ve built walls around her with a thick bullet proof glass window and a minimum of 20 people jostling their way to the front. That’s an extreme, but shows my point of overcrowding. Give me a small quiet museum any day!

  4. Anonymous, someday maybe I’ll get to Taipei. There’s a few places in Asia that I would like to visit.

    JohnstonCoArts, there’s a few surprises on the list for me. Like the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney (which is closest to me) is in about 28th position, while the Guggenheim museum in New York is in about 41st position. I thought the Guggenheim would be more popular.. or maybe they don’t count all their visitors ;-)

    Kathy, I SO AGREE. People look at me like I’m strange or scared of people when I say that I don’t like blockbuster exhibitions that are filled with people. I usually get more from the exhibition catalogue than the exhibition.

    It is good knowing that you have seen this painting or that painting though. So I continue to drag myself to busy exhibitions when theyre on here in Australia.

    For some exhibitions I would pay extra to have fewer people in it. Perhaps it’s something the museums should consider.


  5. Get a grip, museums. 10,000 visitors a day? At better art fairs in the west (US), we have 50,000 – 100,000 patrons visiting per day.

    I’m sorry to flame, but the numbers don’t seem their best feature. I do like the few that I have visited, and especially enjoy my set of five or so local art museums.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Field Museum, Chicago concentrates on natural history not art. The Art Institute of Chicago is the city’s premier art museum.

  7. Hi,

    Although I live in a country with a fair amount of History (Portugal), culture in my country is not something catered for as it should. I wish one day what I could see a portuguese museum listed.
    I see little advertising to bring tourists to portuguese museums.

    Kind regards,


  8. Yes it is.

  9. …at the Screendust performance at Documenta XII: “Free art thrives on the Internet. Traditional art institutions are exclusive and obsolete. Quantum random art sparks mutate pre determined will”.

    Search for Random Screendust

  10. Hi Artnews,
    You should be commended for the good work you are doing.Realiable information on current art affairs is scarce.
    However, in your list of popular art museums you should’ve arranged them according to regions,lets say Africa-top five,Europe-top five and so on.
    At least by that people would know about the whole survey.

  11. I dont’t know if it would enter into the TOP 20, but if you’re visiting Argentina, you must go to Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (in Recoleta), where there’s a great collection of Latinoamerican art and also, many european painters (Manet, Van Gogh).
    Also the “Museo de Arte Decorativo” is very beautiful. It has amazing pictures, but what I love the most is the house where’s situated.
    And if you visit La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires, you have to go to Museo de Ciencias Naturales, with unique latinoamerican species and also indigenous art.
    Good list and good blog.
    ¡Hasta pronto!


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