Published on December 01, 2023Updated on December 01, 2023
From opulent galleries to captivating street art and museums dedicated to iconic artists of the 20th Century, immerse yourself in the vibrant art world of Monaco and its surroundings. Join us on a cultural exploration and uncover the artistic wonders that grace the principality and its environs!
1. A Renaissance Gem at Monaco's Palais Princier
Beneath 19th-century paintings, a remarkable find of 600 m2 Italian Renaissance frescoes has been uncovered in the Palais Princier. Following a decade of restoration, these artworks, likely crafted by a disciple of Raphael, are now accessible to the public. This treasure trove showcases the labors of Hercules, his birth and demise, as well as the tale of Europa's abduction by Jupiter.
2. The art of the Ocean Depths at the Oceanographic Museum
The Oceanographic Museum boasts a collection of around 1500 pictorial works, spanning from the 18th to the 21st century. These include paintings, drawings, and prints. But that's not all: art and science enthusiasts alike can marvel at exquisite artworks intricately connected to the marine depths. Among the displays are ship models, photographs, and contemporary artworks. A lesser-known aspect of the museum, waiting to be discovered.
3. Sculptures in the Streets of Monaco
Around thirty sculptures from the 20th and 21st centuries have found their home at various corners of the principality. From Bourdelle to Kaws, passing through Dali, Venet, and Keith Haring, the works of these artists engage in a captivating dialogue with the prestigious surroundings. An enchanting artistic stroll awaits, inviting you to immerse yourself in the world of sculpture.
4. Contemporary Art in Galleries and at the New National Museum of Monaco (NMNM)
In Monaco, contemporary art takes center stage. Whether you explore the numerous art galleries in the principality or attend temporary exhibitions at the NMNM, there will always be an exceptional place to discover this thriving art scene. At NMNM, you can immerse yourself in the works of internationally renowned artists such as Boltanski, Tillmans, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Henrot, Horn, Jonas, Shimabuku, McQueen, and Vezzoli.
5. The Hauser & Wirth Gallery
The Hauser & Wirth Gallery has built a reputation for its dedication to artists and support of visionary artistic projects worldwide. Since its earliest days, the gallery has curated historically significant exhibitions. In 2021, it expanded its presence to Monaco, creating a natural sanctuary for the masterful works of prominent artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Mark Rothko, and Cindy Sherman.
6. Art Exhibitions at the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo
This palace, boasting a truly unique architectural setting, showcases temporary art exhibitions. In its elegant salons and galleries, art enthusiasts can enjoy cultural evenings with occasional appearances by the invited artists themselves. Among the mesmerizing displays, visitors can also marvel at another masterpiece: the Eiffel-style glass canopy of the Jardin d'Hiver.
7. The Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton
The Bastion is the first museum dedicated to the Prince of Poets. Opened since 1966, this museum boasts a collection of over 2000 pieces and offers a wealth of temporary exhibitions. Visitors have the opportunity to explore rarely exhibited pieces alongside more well-known works by Jean Cocteau.
8 . The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Through her birth and subsequent marriage, Madame Ephrussi de Rothschild became one of the greatest collectors of her century. Her villa is a masterpiece crafted by the talents of that era, where works by Fragonard, Boucher, Riesener, and more are presented. This exceptional site and gardens, perched overlooking the bay, hold a well-deserved place as a classified Historic Monument.
9. The Cocteau Chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer
After spending many stays in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Jean Cocteau wanted to express his affection for the town and its fishermen. He personally requested to decorate the Saint Pierre Chapel located on the harbor. The frescoes inside depict scenes inspired by local Mediterranean life and episodes from the life of Saint Pierre, the patron saint of fishermen.
10. The Matisse Museum in Nice
The Matisse Museum in Nice houses a unique and diverse collection of artworks, including paintings, drawings, prints, cut-outs, and most of Matisse's sculptures. Additionally, the museum displays objects from the artist's personal collection, integrated by Matisse into numerous works. The museum provides valuable insights into Matisse's creative process, where artworks and objects engage in constant dialogue.
11. MAMAC: Modern and Contemporary Art
With nearly 2500 m² of modern and contemporary art, MAMAC is a must-visit for art enthusiasts exploring Nice. The museum features dedicated spaces for influential artists such as Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein, and the international POP movement. Every year, MAMAC completely refreshes its top floor, offering new experiences with 200 artworks from its collection, in addition to captivating temporary exhibitions.
12. The Marc Chagall Museum in Nice
Born from a donation by Marc Chagall himself, the museum not only bears witness to the spiritual essence of the artist's work but also highlights its significant role in the 20th-century artistic landscape. The exhibitions presented delve into Chagall's life and art, exploring the diverse techniques he experimented with throughout his career.
13. Street Art in Nice
The Vieux Nice neighborhood is notably abundant with street art, adorned with works by several stencil artists, including Jef Aérosol, widely regarded as one of the historical pioneers of this artistic technique in France, and Christian Guémy, also known as C215. Close to the Palais des Expositions, you'll also find a wall of "expression libre", where street art is constantly evolving, offering a fascinating sight to admire.
14. The Maeght Foundation
Located near the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the Maeght Foundation boasts a vast collection of modern and contemporary art. Notably, it houses sculptures by Giacometti and a mesmerizing site-specific artwork created by Joan Miró: "The Labyrinth." Additionally, the foundation showcases works by Bonnard, Braque, Calder, Chagall, Hepworth, Kandinsky, Richier, Christo, Chillida, Mitchell, Takis, and many others.
15. The Picasso Museum in Antibes
Located on the ancient acropolis of a Greek city and housed within the Grimaldi Castle, this remarkable museum not only displays some of Picasso’s most famous works but also showcases artwork by significant artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Arman, Balthus, Ben, Bloch, Calder, Cane, César, Combas, Debré, Ernst, Hantaï, Hartung, Klein, Miró, Modigliani, Picabia, Raysse, Richier, Spoerri, and Viallat.
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