FOR THE FIRST-TIMER – Hit the Denon wing, but don’t stay too long—the crowds are insane. Catch the iconic Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, then head to the ornately gilded Apollo Gallery: it encapsulates 17th-century excess and was a model for Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Come up for air in the Sully Wing: the Venus de Milo is one of the rare sculptures that lives up to the photos.
RETURN TRIP TO-DOS – The Richelieu wing. Napoleon Ill’s apartments have been painstakingly reconstructed in all their over-the-top, gilt-and-red-velvet glory. An in-person visit is the only way to fully appreciate the Second Empire opulence.
MOST OVERRATED – The Mona Lisa. Too packed. Plus, it’s tiny, and your photo will have a hundred iPhones in the foreground. But if you insist on seeing it, don’t bypass Marriage at Cana in the same room—the museum’s largest painting.
Reasons to Love Basel
Mention this Swiss city and many people immediately think of Art Basel, the king of contemporary art fairs. But with more than 40 design and art museums—about half of which rival the best galleries in Europe—this town of just 1,75,000 deserves its reputation as a year-round cultural hub. Currently winning worldwide acclaim is the Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s first municipal art collection, which has been renovated and last month unveiled a third building.
The new extension opened with ‘Sculpture on the Move, 1946-2016’ a much-anticipated group exhibition that includes works by Alexander Calder, Joseph Beuys, and Matthew Barney, among others (through September 18). Later this year, the museum will run a major exhibition of Jackson Pollock’s figurative work. “It’s pretty incredible to have such a small population so steeped in art,” says Kunsthalle director Elena Filipovic.