exterior of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

No matter the destination, every travel itinerary needs a little art and culture. Whether you are an art enthusiast or just looking for some cultural stimulation, there’s no better way to fill that cultural craving than visiting a museum. This year, museums are getting extra creative with their shows, giving you even more of a reason to travel to one of your favorite cities. But with countless options, narrowing down which exhibitions to see is tough, and so we have rounded up the best shows worldwide you can’t miss in 2023. Whether you’re traveling to New York, London, or Paris, we have you covered with exhibits from renowned institutions like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery in London, and The Musée d’Orsay in Paris. From monumental Contemporary retrospectives by era-defining artists like Yoshitomo Nara and Cecily Brown, to shows that put a clever take on Old Masters like Vermeer and El Greco, there’s something for every type of art lover to enjoy. So take advantage of the opportunity to attend one of the many innovative art shows offered this year and start planning your 2023 cultural calendar with our list of the eight most anticipated art exhibitions worldwide.

Image by Frans Ruiter

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

We kick off our list with the highly anticipated “Vermeer Retrospective” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Over 25 of Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s paintings are currently on display, making it the largest Vermeer exhibition to date. The blockbuster exhibit explores the 17th-century artist’s life, work, family, and faith, featuring some of his most famous works, such as “The Milk Maid” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Tickets for the exhibition sold out within the first week, but don’t worry, the museum will be releasing a second round of tickets.

When: February 10 – June 4, 2023

Egon Schiele from the Collection of the Leopold Museum – Young Genius in Vienna 1900 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo

Although he only lived to age 28, Egon Schiele established himself as one of the most esteemed expressionist painters of the 19th century. Earlier this spring, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art debuted the Austrian expressionist’s first major retrospective in Japan. Borrowing 50 works from the Leopold Museum in Vienna, the exhibition sheds light on Schiele’s distinctive style and includes some of his most notable works, like his self-portrait “Self-Seers II” and “Mother and Child.” In addition, works by Schiele’s peers, such as Klimt, Kokoschka, and Gerstl, are also on display, further giving a comprehensive perspective of the era’s style.  

When: January 26 – April 9, 2023

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art at The National Gallery, London

A momentous exhibition featuring works by some of the most significant visionaries in art history opens at the National Gallery in London in March. “After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art” will present around 100 paintings and sculptures by acclaimed artists such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, and Klimt. The exhibition celebrates the artists’ achievements and focuses on the ground-breaking artistic development that emerged across Europe between 1880-1914. With loans from private collections and museums worldwide, this exhibition is a must-see for any post-Impressionist lover.

When: 25 March – August 13, 2023

Manet / Degas at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris

What’s more quintessentially French than a Manet and Degas exhibit at the Musée D’Orsay in Paris? The two notable Impressionist trailblazers are being brought together in a compelling exhibition that tells the story of the artist’s complicated relationship. Though often considered rivals, the exhibit will shed light on the artists’ bond and recount the history of their relationship, influences, and fellows. If you can’t make it to Paris, the exhibition will also be at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art from September 2023 through January 2024.

When: March 28 – July 23, 2023

Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life at the Tate Modern, London

This April, a seemingly unlikely duo will be exhibited side by side at London’s Tate Modern. Forms of Life combines 250 works from Swedish artist Hilma af Klint and Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, exploring the two visionaries’ shared ideas and abstract techniques. Both artists began as landscape painters but developed their own visual styles. Af Klint pushed boundaries with her bright and bold mystical paintings, while Mondrian became known for his abstract grid-like works. Although the artists never met, they are both considered to be two of the 20th century’s most innovative abstract painters. So don’t miss your chance to see the pair shown together for the first time!

When: April 20  – September 3, 2023

Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid is the British-born artist’s first-ever museum survey in New York City since moving to the states in 1990. Brown is best known for her large-scale figurative paintings, combining traditional art historical themes and subjects to create her contemporary compositions. The exhibition will highlight over 25 years of her work exploring her innovative practice, with more than 50 paintings, drawings and monotypes. It seems only fitting to commemorate Brown’s extensive career in New York at the city’s most visited museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When: April 4  –  December 3, 2023

Yoshitomo Nara the Albertina Modern, Vienna

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Albertina Modern in Vienna will finally reopen its doors this year after an extensive renovation, with a retrospective of Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s works. Nara, a pioneering figure in contemporary art, rose to fame in the early 2000s as part of an avant-art group known as “Superflat.” He is best known for his widely recognizable wide-eyed cartoon-like paintings that often appear sweet yet filled with angst. The exhibition will spotlight his signature style through a collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. 

When: May 10 – November 2023

El Greco at Palazzo Reale, Milan

In the fall, The Palazzo Reale in Milan will display Cretan painter El Greco’s works in a unique and thematic way. Rather than presenting the works chronologically, the exhibition will follow the artist’s nomadic life, highlighting the numerous Mediterranean cities where he trained and worked. El Greco took inspiration from great Italian masters like Titian and Tintoretto — applying the skills and techniques he had cultivated to his works, while traveling across the continent. The exhibition will primarily look at the artist’s Italian period, a time when El Greco began to distinguish himself stylistically. 

When: October 13 – February 9, 2024