One of the main draws for travellers to Europe is art. If you’re visiting the continent, then taking advantage of the centuries of artistic tradition in its history is well worth your time, whether you’re visiting one country or city for a few days or enjoying a weeks long trip. It’s not just Old Masters you have the chance to see – art in Europe hasn’t stood still, and there are just as many fascinating and moving modern art pieces as there are Renaissance portraits or mediaeval icons.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the more unexpected art to see in Europe, taking you off the beaten path to find striking artworks you’ll remember long after your trip is over.
Bus Stops in the Former Soviet Union
In the small, partially recognised republic of Abkhazia, on the Eastern Coast of the Black Sea, the intrepid traveller can find some remarkable artworks. In an attempt to bring culture to the masses, the Soviet Union commissioned renowned artist Zurab Tsereteli to bring his creative sensibilities to a series of bus stops across the region. He was tasked to integrate the mundane activity of waiting for a bus with the monumental art he was becoming famous for, and the result was nine concrete sculptures, decorated with cobalt glass and mosaic designs. The bus stops themselves resembled seashells and fish, as they were scattered around seaside resort towns.
They were first installed in the 1960s but are still are remarkable spectacle for travellers in the region and well worth looking up!
The Pompidou Centre
A more conventional gallery, the Pompidou Centre in Paris is well worth a visit if you’ve even a passing interest in modern art. It holds the largest collection in Europe, and gives you a remarkable opportunity to trace the story of the modern art movement, from foundation figures like Picasso and Duchamp through to modern icons like Tracy Emin or Damien Hirst.
Understanding where some of modern art’s more outrageous pieces have come from can help you understand and appreciate more for their artistic worth than their shock value.
The Angel of the North
Ending your trip in the Northeast of England lets you take in one of the most striking examples of public sculpture to have been unveiled in recent years. This Anthony Gormley piece overlooks the approach to Gateshead, with wings outstretched to embrace the visiting traveller. It’s a striking piece that acknowledges the area’s industrial past as well as a wireless future, and the sight of it overlooking the traffic is one it’s well worth taking in.