1. Louvre ~ ParisThe Lourve is a former French Royal palace. It's one of the world's largest museums (60,600 square meters). It's also the most visited. It houses a number of the world's top 10 paintings including the Mona Lisa.
2. Vatican Museum ~ Vatican City (Rome)It takes power and influence to build a world class art collection. The Vatican Museum holds the collection of the Roman Catholic Church. A collection that took centuries to build.
The museum has 54 galleries spanning about 14 kilometers of hall ways. The popular Sistine Chapel is the very last gallery. Visitors must earn their visit to the Chapel by walking the distance. Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel is perhaps the world's most acclaimed art work.
3. Musee d'Orsay ~ ParisThe Musee d'Orsay is housed in an impressive 19th century railway station on the Seine river. It's the world's premiere collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. The collection includes painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
4. Uffizi Gallery ~ FlorenceThe Uffizi Gallery was a favorite haunt of Leonardo da Vinci. The building dates back to 1560. It took 21 years to build and is considered an architectural marvel. The museum's collection includes works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. The best known work in the collection is Botticelli's Birth of Venus.
5. Metropolitan Museum of Art ~ New YorkThe Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of influential Americans. Today, it has over two million art works. The Met is 190,000 meters square ~ that's three times bigger than the Louvre.
6. The State Hermitage ~ Saint PetersburgThe State Hermitage has been open to the public since 1852. That makes it one of the oldest public museums in the world. One of the museum's six buildings was the Winter Palace of the Russian emperors (Tsar). The museum houses the largest collection of paintings in the world.
7. Art Institute of Chicago ~ ChicagoThe Art Institute of Chicago has a large collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The museum features 30 of Monet's best works. The best known painting in the collection is Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge.
8. Prado Museum ~ MadridThe Prado Museum collection is focused on Spanish artists such as Goya and El Greco. The best known work in the museum is Velázquez's Las Meninas.
9. National Gallery of Art ~ WashingtonThe National Gallery of Art was established during the Great Depression for the people of America. It's the only museum on the list that's always free of charge. It's core collection has been donated by affluent Americans such as Andrew W. Mellon. It has large collections of Italian Renaissance and Modern art.
10. Museum of Modern Art ~ New YorkUnquestionably the best collection of modern and contemporary art in the world. The collection contains the premier works by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.