Analysis
Art's Most Popular 2020

Here are the most visited Old Master exhibitions of 2019

The hype surrounding major anniversary celebrations saw big turnouts for Bruegel, Leonardo and Rembrandt

Bruegel at the Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum was the third most popular show with 3,923 visitors a day Courtesy of KHM-Museumsverband

Given the widespread Leonardo hype in and outside the art world on the quincentenary of his death last year, it comes as no surprise that two monographic shows of his drawings—at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and The Queen’s travelling exhibition of 80 drawings that peaked in Manchester—should make the top ten. It is very likely that the Louvre’s recently closed Leonardo show will top the Old Masters category in our 2020 survey. Hype also contributed to a strong turnout at the Rijksmuseum’s somewhat misleadingly titled All the Rembrandts, which featured all the museum’s works by the Dutch master, not his entire oeuvre. However, “all the works” came close to being an accurate description of the Bruegel show at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, which was seen by 3,923 visitors a day. The exhibition marked the 450th anniversary of the Flemish artist's death. The Prado pulled off a coup with its Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer exhibition. Although there is little evidence that either Velázquez or Rembrandt were even aware of one another’s work (and neither would have had a clue about Vermeer), the Spanish show nevertheless presented a number of intriguing comparisons.

Top 10 Old Master exhibitions

    • For The Art Newspaper’s full Art’s Most Popular visitor figures survey, see our April issue. To read a selection online, see Art’s Most Popular 2020