Paris’ Louvre, home to the ‘Mona Lisa,’ drew more visitors last year than its local contemporary art rival, the Centre Pompidou, according to a survey by ‘The Art Newspaper’.
Louvre led all museums worldwide with 8.3 million visitors in 2007. The Centre Pompidou attracted 5.5 million visits, putting it in second place on a list of the best-attended museums, compiled by the London-based paper for its March issue.
Tate Modern on the Thames in London counted 5.2 million entrants, followed by the British Museum, with 4.8 million, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with 4.5 million, the paper reported.
This is the first survey of attendance by ‘The Art Newspaper’. By asking museums to count visitors for the calendar year, it offers a better comparison than was available previously. Museums’ own attendance reports reflect varying time frames.
The survey doesn’t, however, distinguish between museums that charge for admission and those that don’t. It also doesn’t include any information on museums’ revenue from attendance and shows.
‘The Art Newspaper’ also has tracked the top exhibitions for about 12 years. The Tokyo National Museum, No. 17 in attendance, staged 2007’s most popular exhibition, ‘The Mind of Leonardo’. Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation,’ a 15th century painting of the angel Gabriel and Virgin Mary, was viewed by 10,071 visitors a day while it was on loan from Florence’s Uffizi from 20 March to 17 June. The number of visitors isn’t necessarily the best measure of a museum’s success.
“The quality of a museum’s collections, exhibition programme, educational offerings, publications and staff are the best measures,” said Elyse Topalian, a Met spokeswoman, in an email.
The Met had about five million visitors a year until the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack, she said.