1. The Prado, Madrid, Spain
Judgment of Paris, and truly fell in love with Diego Velazquez. My Art History and Civilization class would come to the Prado almost every Friday to tour the galleries, and this was before they renovated and added a whole new wing to Velazquez (and I left before I could see it!).
I still remember when we walked in to see the former Velazquez "gallery" for the first time. My friend Liz (the first and best Art Historian I've ever met) laid eyes on Las Meninas, her favorite painting, immediately, and started to cry. It was the first time that the emotional effects of art really became understood to me, and just how powerful it could really be.
Whatever the High is doing and whoever they're talking to, they truly have the "in" for exceptional traveling exhibitions. I believe Andy Warhol is there right now!
3. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
B) They house Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocente X and King Philip IV of Spain, Titian's Rape of Europa (That in itself is worth a trip!), works by Anders Zorn, James McNeill Whistler, and Rembrandt, and basically, they have a phenomenal collection.
My favorite collection at the IMA is, well...the entire first floor (second of the building). This floor houses the American/European paintings, and folks, I am a "painting person." They also have one of the larger collections of ceramics/furniture than I have personally seen in my art museum tours. My favorite paintings of theirs include Frederic Church's Our Flag (1864), Whistler's Harmony in Pink and Grey: Lady Meux (1881), Camille Pissarro's The House of the Deaf Woman and the Belfry at Eragny, and the two Monets.
Now, besides all of the paintings, the IMA has a great contemporary art exhibit (there's a Chihuly glass sculpture on display! And this awesome mylar...bubble...ball...sculpture-installation thing that is really fun!), African and Asian art galleries, and a temporary fashion installation right now. Those fashion exhibits are always so neat. Worth it. Go now.
The Light Totem.
Art from All Angles. I'm going to be really sad when I am not able to visit this museum every day, but hopefully this post has inspired you to visit and begin an art museum love affair yourself. :)