London (United Kingdom). What does make the beauty of a museum? I mean: saying that a museum is a beautiful one, what can be the main reasons? Have you ever questioned yourself about it? I did it, and I still do it basically every time I visit a museum – which luckily happens quite often because I love going to a museum.
But before giving my answer I want to say something I noticed, and that appears to me quite as a nonsense: for several people (perhaps the majority) the beauty of a museum is given by the number of famous authors (painters, sculptors etc.) exhibiting there. And unavoidably, the result is that a museum with ten Picasso is better than another one with only two. Isn’t it absurd? Oh yes, definitely it is; but it’s also true. So, the consequence is that visitors are much more concentrated on the small label with the title and the author of a painting, than on the painting itself! And they spend the whole visit at a museum curved down on the low corner of the frame, admiring the name of some famous author, without putting their eyes on what could be a masterpiece of art’s history.
For the same reason, I love when I visit a museum and I see someone standing in front of a canvas or a sculpture, writing or sketching on a notepad: it’s a totally different approach, much deeper and in intimate relationship with art…
Anyhow, coming back to my initial question: what makes the beauty of a museum? To me, one of the key elements is its architecture: the visit to a museum is a pleasure not only for what it includes, but also for the spaces where the visitors walk. For this reason I loved the Fondazione Prada in Milan, where people walk in a former industrial site, completely reinvented but with well visible the traits of some structures used in the past to produce spirits. And of course I loved the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, designed by Frank Gehry with his typical futuristic concept of structures. But one of my favorites and that I loved most is the British Museum (in the picture, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court), with its striking ceiling designed by Sir Norman Foster (based on Foster’s concept for the roof of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany).