Here’s a secret: If you visit an artist’s birthplace, some of their creative genius will rub off on you… and if THAT doesn’t work, then at least these picturesque hometowns are sure to inspire. Don’t look for Paris, New York, or Tokyo here—these cities are little more off-the-beaten-path.
Urbino, Italy: If it’s quintessential Italian Renaissance you seek, head to the World Heritage Site of Urbino, home of Raphael (the painter, not turtle). Highlights include the Ducal Palace, the Cathedral and, of course, the painter’s birthplace.
Malaga, Spain: For the the glories of Andalusia, you can’t beat Picasso’s birthplace along the southern coast of Spain. Must sees include the Cathedral, the 11th century hilltop fortification of Alcazaba, and, yes, the Museo Picasso.
Guanajuato, Mexico: Diego Rivera, muralist and husband of fellow artist Frida Kahlo, was born in this colorful World Heritage Site. The cobblestoned streets of this colonial city are lined with some of the best examples Baroque architecture in the Americas.
Crete, Greece: Which famed artist was born in Crete? El Greco, of course. Pictured above is the jewel of a town, Agios Nikolaos, but Greece’s largest island is home to many more sources of inspiration from beautiful beaches to ancient ruins.
Cody, Wyoming: Don’t leave America’s wild west out of your artistic adventures. Jackson Pollack was born in these hills. The city was named for William Frederick Cody (aka, Buffalo Bill), but it is also a gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
Bourges, France: Birthplace of Impressionist Berthe Morisot, this central French gem offers one of Europe’s great Cathedrals (St. Etienne), quaint half-timbered houses, and some of the most beautiful green spaces in the country.
Kyoto, Japan: Okay, maybe not exactly off-the-beaten-path anymore, but any birthplace this beautiful deserves a mention. Many Japanese masters–including Ogata Korin and Tomioka Tessai–were born in Kyoto, which has much more to offer than JUST cherry blossom season (the trees pictured above are maples)
Leiden, Netherlands: One of the greatest Old Masters of all time, Rembrandt, was born here, so there must be something in the water. Situated in the tulip-district at the confluence of the Old and New Rhine Rivers, it is home to the country’s oldest university and a host of walkable canals and gardens.
Figueres, Spain: A visit to the birthplace of Salvador Dali can be, quite literally, surreal–since you will no doubt spend the day in the Dali museum. Other highlights: Catalan cuisine, sunshine, and the narrow streets of the Old Town.
Aix-en-Provence, France: In the birth–and death–place of Cezanne, step into a world of French mansions, grand boulevards and fountains, French cuisine, and, of course, art as you travel back in time to the life of the Post-Impressionist painter.
All photos from Bigstock.com