Louvre in Paris tops most visited art venue poll

image captionFor five years running, the Louvre has been the most visited art museum

The Louvre in Paris was the most visited art museum last year, according to theArt Newspaper.

The publication's annual poll stated that nearly 8.9 million people visited the French institute, which was almost a 5% increase on last year.

New York's Metropolitan Museum Of Art was the second most visited venue, with the British Museum in third place.

Two more London museums - the National Gallery and the Tate Modern - were in fourth and fifth place respectively.

'Good value'

The Louvre has topped the annual list since it began in 2007.

The Art Newspaper's deputy editor Javier Pes said the institute remained popular because it is home to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa "among other treasures".

Art gallery attendance has continued to climb, despite the global recession but Mr Pes was not surprised by the findings.

"Last year, American museums particularly took a big hit with the financial crisis, so they had to look for cuts and they found some of them in exhibition budgets."

'Big effect'

"Now the big museums fall back on the great collections. The Met did really well from showing their Picassos. So museums have had to be creative with their collections.

"But there is obviously still an appetite out there and the museums are offering good value for money."

A British Museum spokeswoman said she was "delighted" to feature so high in the list.

"The museum is committed to ensuring we show the world to the world, with free access for all."

The National Gallery also welcomed its place in the top five.

"The rise to the fourth most popular museum and gallery in the world reflects the enduring appeal and relevance of Old Master paintings today, and the strength of engaging exhibitions with a wide appeal," a statement said.

And a Tate Modern spokeswoman added the visitor figures "reflect the increasing worldwide interest in culture and the arts".

At number six was Washington's National Gallery of Art, permanent home to the only Leonardo Da Vinci painting in whole of the Americas, followed by the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Centre Pompidou in Paris was in eighth position, with the National Museum of Korea at number nine and Paris' Musee D'Orsay rounded off the top 10.

Attendance figures from more than 400 art institutions from across the world were collected from January to December last year.

The top 20 most visited exhibitions during last year have also been released.

Top of the list was The Magical World of Escher at Rio's Centrol Cultural Banco do Brazil with 9,677 people on average visiting it per day, with the total number throughout the year totalling 573,691.

Unlike a lot of high profile exhibitions, the Escher show was free to members of the public, which Mr Pes said "undoubtedly has a big effect" on a show's popularity.

'Great strides'

Kukai's World: The Arts Of Esoteric Buddhism at the Tokyo National Museum was in second place, followed by Landscape Reunited at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan in New York attracted just over 8,000 people a day.

The venue showed a collection of dresses and costumes made by the late British fashion designer, who killed himself in 2010.

Rounding off the top five was the Claude Monet display at the Grand Palais.

Figures have continued to increase since 1996, when the publication first began recording visiting figures.

Initially a show needed around 3,000 people a day in order to make the top 10, now they need to have almost 7,000 visitors a day.

Mr Pes said museums have "made great strides" in recent years.

"Museums can pat themselves on the back," he added. "They have built up audiences so there is a bigger appetite to see art, especially contemporary art.

"Museums have got better at putting on exhibitions and marketing them and building up excitement."

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