Established over 200 years ago by Johann Friedrich Stadel, this museum has since amassed an art collection of 3,000 paintings, 600 sculptures, 500 photographs, and 100,000 drawings and prints, making its holdings among the most important in the world. Now archived online, you can investigate some of its most famous works—for instance, Vermeer’s 1669 painting, The Geographer. It features a scholar pausing in reflection over a map, a hinged compass in his hand. He is deep in thought, perhaps envisioning a piece of the world, which at that time was still an unfinished puzzle. The pale globe above and behind him seems to be waiting for this information. In their analysis, the museum’s curators have given us a map, one that leads into the painting. —E.C.
Städel Museum Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Get Directions »