The European Summer Destinations That Inspired Great Art
A summer holiday holds the promise of pure relaxation and rejuvenation but less emphasis is placed on creativity.
And scientific studies have shown, that this is exactly what exploring a new area can provide; stimulation and inspiration.
So if you're looking to get the most out of your summer break, the locations listed below have been tried and tested by great artists to inspire.
French Impressionist Claude Monet's picturesque home in Giverny (the north of France on the River Seine) served as a constant source of inspiration to the artist, in particular his garden which can be seen in his most iconic works, Water Lilies (Nymphéas) and Le Pont Japonais. Now Monet’s home has been restored and turned into a museum, we can walk through the very scenes that captivated the artist. Wander by the pond with the little Japanese bridge that Monet was near obsessed with and produced an excess of 250 paintings.
St Ives, England
As soon as the Great Western Railway linked London to the region of west Cornwall in 1877, British artists found their creative haven away from the overcrowded city. The picturesque fishing town has never failed to inspire. Victorian artist Louis Grier was the first in working in establishing the town’s first art school in 1888 but the artist movement really picked up post-WW2 where younger generation of artists began to gather. Led by sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and then-husband Ben Nicholson with friend and Russian Constructivist sculptor Naum Gabo — their outpost for the avant-garde attracted fresh pioneers from around the world. The artistic output of this new generation helped to solidify the designation and identity of what is now known as The St. Ives School.
Gulf of Naples, Italy
Procida is the smallest inhabitant island in the Bay of Naples and may not be as prolific as it’s neighbouring islands of Ischia and Capri but that is set to change as it was recently elected Italian Capital of Culture 2022. This colourful fisherman village has a rich history and artists have long since ventured off the beaten track here for inspiration. Notable works include German artist, Jacob Philippe Hackert’s beautiful oil paintings depicting scenes of the gulf. Be sure to visit this year so you can see the many cultural projects planned in celebration of their newly established accolade. Including eight regenerated cultural spaces - such as an old sixteenth century palace turned prison.
Lake Attersee, Austria
Gustav Klimt, The Austrian artist known for his Art Nouveau style, found his sommerfrische — literally, “summer fresh” at Lake Attersee in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. Klimt felt so inspired by the lake that he continued to return for 15 more summers until his death in 1918, creating more than 45 of his 50 landscapes in the tiny lakefront towns of Seewalchen, Litzlberg and Weissenbach. And if the beauty of the lakes with the backdrop of the Alps alone isn’t awe-inspiring enough, visit the Gustav Klimt Center which resides on the lake’s edge. The museum beautifully and intimately highlights Klimt’s connection to the lake and its surroundings. Klimt’s landscape works were once eclipsed by his portraits but in recent times, there’s been further recognition for these innovative landscape paintings. Most notably in 2011 when “Litzlberg on Attersee” was auctioned at Sotheby’s for $40.4 million.