Art museum or art gallery is a term for a place - building or space, for exhibition of visual arts. There are private and public museums of art that differ in who owns the exposed art pieces. The most common items that are exhibited in art museums are paintings but sculpture, drawings, textiles, photographs and other type of visual arts are also shown.
Public art museums are nonprofit or publicly owned while private galleries sell art. Galleries are also rooms in museums where the art is displayed. There are also contemporary art galleries that are semi-private: they sell the art and keep portion of the sales. Vanity galleries charge the artists for displaying their art.
For the first art museum is considered Kustmuseum Basel which originated from Amerbach-Cabinet the city of Basel bought in 1661 and with that made it the first municipally owned museum. Kustmuseum Basel opened publicly in 1671. World’s first university art museum is Ashmolean Museum in Oxford opened in 1683.
The most visited art museum in the world is Louvre Museum in Paris with over 9 million visitors a year. It is located on the right bank of the Seine and is housed in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress in the second half of the 12th century. When in 1682 Louis XIV chose Palace of Versailles as his household he left Louvre as a place for displaying a royal collection. From that moment, Louvre held many important works of art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is second most visited art museum in the world, largest in the United States and third largest in the world. It was founded in 1870 and opened for public February 20, 1872. It was founded by local businessmen and financiers, leading artists and thinkers. It is originally located on Fifth Avenue but it was later moved to on the eastern edge of Central Park.
British Museum in London is the third most visited art museum with over 5 million visitors a year. It was founded in 1753 from a collection of physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It was opened for public viewing in 1759. In years it grew and it holds art from ancient times to Renaissance.
Fourth most visited art museum is Tate Modern in London. It is located in the Bankside area in the former Bankside Power Station. It was founded in 2000 and it displays modern art from 1900 until today.
National gallery is fifth most visited. It is placed on Trafalgar Square in London. It is founded in 1824 when British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein, an insurance broker and patron of the arts. It now holdes over 2300 paintings from 14th to 19th century.
National Museum of Modern Art in Paris holds 6th place in the number of yearly visits. It is located in Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement of the city. It was founded in 1947 and it holds 70,000 works of art.