The 25 best artworks in the world you must see

Stand before a great artwork and you'll feel a few things. Perhaps you're awed, astonished, shaken or even moved to tears. Among all the emotions, the one you won't have is regret for undertaking whatever it took to reach that very spot.

Creative arts publisher Phaidon hopes to inspire more people to "make a journey for art". Its guidebook to the world's most compelling, permanently sited artworks, includes pieces installed on city streets, salt lakes, bus shelters, traffic roundabouts, alpine meadows and the ocean floor, and in tiny chapels, train stations, stairwells and more. Thousands of options were whittled down to create Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip. The choices include sculptures, sound and light installations, epic land art, murals, memorials and stained glass, found in 300 cities over 60 countries.

While you can vicariously travel the world through this guide, the book points out that people have long journeyed to see an object with their own eyes. "All the major world religions have traditions of pilgrimage," notes the introduction. "Many of these destinations housed significant objects – relics or images – that became a focal point for pilgrims at the end of their (often gruelling) travels." In the mid-17th century this pivoted to a new concept – that direct exposure to culture could lead to personal improvement – and so the European grand tour was born. Today's travellers embrace the idea that seeing art brings its own rewards.

Certainly, some of my most moving travel moments have come from standing before a magnificent artwork. One of my most powerful art experiences was seeing Budapest's Shoes on the Danube memorial - 60 pairs of cast-iron shoes lining the riverbank to honour Holocaust victims. I'm also constantly adding works to my wish list: next time I'm in Brisbane, for instance, I hope to see Luke Roberts' Poinsettia Riverfire. And I'm still willing to road-trip for hours across the desolate West Texan desert just to see the surreal Prada Marfa installation. Below are 25 of the guide's recommendations that should most definitely be on your must-see list.

25 OF THE BEST ART WORKS WORTH THE TRIP

THE ARTIST

Elmgreen & Dragset

The Prada Marfa store in Valentine, TX

The Prada Marfa store in Valentine, TX. Photo: Alamy

THE WORK

Prada Marfa, 2005

THE LOCATION

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US Route 90 Near Valentine, Texas, US

THE BACK STORY

The Berlin-based artist duo's ironic statement on consumerism makes for an unusual stop alongside a desolate highway in West Texas. The faux Prada "boutique" is never open but displays a collection of size 37 right-footed shoes and handbags from the luxury brand's 2005 autumn collection. Since its launch, the installation has suffered break-ins, burglary and bullet holes, but the world's most surreal boutique is now such a drawcard that a caretaker keeps an eye on it and security measures have been installed.

View any time, Prada Marfa is 58 kilometres from Marfa, a three-hour drive from El Paso and a six-hour drive from San Antonio, visitmarfa.com

THE ARTIST

Julia Oram

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SUPPLIED via journalist12 Julia Oram, Bung, 2007 Picture: Connells Bay

THE WORK

Bung, 2007

THE LOCATION

Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

THE BACK STORY

Oram's humorous giant bath plug, floating in the sea off Waiheke Island, prompts viewers to consider the serious subject of water conservation on an island reliant on tank water. It's one of 30-plus permanent site-specific works by prominent New Zealand sculptors installed at the park - a private property owned by philanthropists John and Jo Gow. The collection includes a piece from Michael Parekowhai. Before catching the ferry to Waiheke, see his controversial artwork, The Lighthouse, standing sentinel on Auckland's Queens Wharf.

Several guided morning sculpture walks are offered each month during open season (late October to late April, NZ$30 adult). Guests staying in the park's waterfront cottage can do a self-guided tour. See connellsbay.co.nz

THE ARTIST

Agnes Denes

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THE WORK

Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule – 11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years, 1992-96

THE LOCATION

Ylöjärvi, Finland

THE BACK STORY

At the 1992 Earth Summit, the Finnish government announced it would commission Tree Mountain – a monumental piece of ecological art from Hungarian-born American conceptual artist Denes. A conical mountain was fashioned over a former gravel pit and is to remain undisturbed for 400 years in a bid to create virgin forest. Denes plants "mathematical forests" – 11,000 volunteers helped to plant pines in an intricate pattern partly inspired by pineapples and sunflowers. In Australia, Denes created a spiral forest sculpture at a sewage treatment plant in Melbourne's western suburbs.

View any time, near Ylöjärvi, 190 kilometres north of Helsinki. See agnesdenesstudio.com

THE ARTIST

Grayson Perry and FAT Architecture for Living Architecture

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THE WORK

A House for Essex, 2015

THE LOCATION

Manningtree, Essex, England

THE BACK STORY

In 2006, Alain de Botton founded Living Architecture with the idea of creating exceptional holiday destinations for lovers of modern architecture. Among the projects dotted around the UK is A House for Essex – an eccentric confection that resulted from a collaboration between cross-dressing, Turner Prize-winning artist Perry and FAT Architecture. Perry describes the chapel-like building as the Taj Mahal on the river Stour because it tells the story of Julie Cope, a fictional Essex everywoman whose husband built the house as a shrine upon her death.

Two- and three-night stays, ranging from 870 pounds to 2200 pounds (A$1505-$3806), are available by ballot only. See living-architecture.co.uk

THE ARTIST

Louise Bourgeois

THE WORK

Crouching Spider, 2003

THE LOCATION

Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France

THE BACK STORY

For the revered French-born American artist, the spider was a maternal figure that reminded her of her own mother – a weaver who could also deftly defend herself and her daughter. Arachnids were a recurring motif for Bourgeois, who died in 2010. This one is poised above a pool as part of Chateau La Coste's art and architecture walk, which includes works from architects Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel. The biodynamic Provencal estate, which includes 28 luxury villas, is a 25-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence, home of Cezanne.

Guided English-language tour daily at 2.30pm, 15 euros adult. See chateau-la-coste.com

THE ARTIST

Spencer Finch

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THE WORK

Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning, 2014

THE LOCATION

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York City

THE BACK STORY

Finch's poignant paper mosaic comprises 2983 hand-painted, blue-hued, unframed watercolour squares, one for each victim of the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. The commission for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which covers most of a massive subterranean wall, incorporates a Virgil quote. The epic skyscape, inspired by connections between light, colour, memory and perception, remind some of the office papers that fluttered from the Twin Towers on that fateful blue-sky morning in 2001.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 180 Greenwich Street, New York, museum open daily 9am-8pm (until 9pm Friday and Saturday), admission US$24 adult. See 911memorial.org

THE ARTIST

Mark Rothko

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SUPPLIED via journalist388 Mark Rothko, Rothko Chapel, 1971. Copyright 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko. ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018. Photo: Hickey-Robertson

THE WORK

Rothko Chapel, 1971

THE LOCATION

Houston, Texas

THE BACK STORY

The Rothko Chapel is a shrine to the famed abstract expressionist and a non-denominational place of worship. Houston art patrons John and Dominique de Menil commissioned 14 Rothko canvases for the minimalist space – initially to be designed by architect Philip Johnson. When Rothko and Johnson butted heads, the design was completed by Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. The artist never saw the chapel completed: he committed suicide a year before its 1971 opening.

3900 Yupon Street, open daily 10am-6pm, free admission (closing March 4-December 21, 2019 for renovations). See rothkochapel.org

THE ARTIST

Maurizio Cattelan

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SUPPLIED via journalist140 Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled 2001. Courtesy Maurizio Cattelan’s Archive. Photo: Attilio Maranzano

THE WORK

Untitled (Manhole), 2001

THE LOCATION

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

THE BACK STORY

In this irreverent life-sized self-portrait, Cattelan appears to have tunnelled up through the floor of the Dutch museum. Viewers can peek into what appears to be a storage room – in fact it's the staff cloakroom. Cattelan is a self-taught artist who is often in the spotlight with his satirical sculptures. In 1999, his La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) depicted Pope John II being hit by a meteorite. In 2002 Him, Cattelan's small wax sculpture of a kneeling or perhaps praying Adolf Hitler, was the subject of hot debate when it was shown in this museum.

The museum is a 15-minute walk from Rotterdam Central station, open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-5pm, admission 20 euros adult. See boijmans.nl

THE ARTIST

Fujiko Nakaya

THE WORK

Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere, 1976

THE LOCATION

National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden, Canberra

THE BACK STORY

Fondly known as the "fog sculpture", this atmospheric installation is a lunchtime delight in the national capital. A pump and 900 nozzles create a mist that wafts across a pond, its tendrils wrapping in and around the surrounding trees. Shafts of sunlight slicing through the canopy add to the experience. The work originally appeared in the 1976 Sydney Biennale; the artist, who has been creating fog sculptures since 1970, helped design its current site.

Operates 12.30pm-2pm daily, the NGA is open 10am-5pm daily, free admission. See nga.gov.au

THE ARTIST

Jacques Coetzer

*** ONE TIME TRAVELLER USE ONLY ****** FOR USE RELATED TO DESTINATION ART BOOK BY PHAIDON ***satdec15cover destination art ; edited by Katrina LobleySUPPLIED via journalistJacques Coetzer, Open House, 2015. [NO CREDITS LISTED]

THE WORK Open House, 2015

THE LOCATION

Cape Town, South Africa

THE BACK STORY

In 2014, on the 20th anniversary of democratic rule in South Africa, Coetzer won a design competition for an artwork to mark this moment while incorporating the city's diversity, history and aspirations. The scarlet freestanding house façade references nearby Victorian buildings while the corrugated iron is a nod to a building material common in townships. The stairs, balconies and Open sign encourage free dialogue - people can climb the artwork to speak, sing or wave to passers-by.

View any time, corner of Dorp and Long Streets. See southafrica.net

THE ARTIST

Sunaryo

*** ONE TIME TRAVELLER USE ONLY ****** FOR USE RELATED TO DESTINATION ART BOOK BY PHAIDON ***satdec15cover destination art ; edited by Katrina LobleySUPPLIED via journalistSunaryo, Wot Batu, 2015. Copyright Wot Batu. Photo: Adhya Ranadireksa & Kemas Indra Bisma

THE WORK

Wot Batu, 2015

THE LOCATION

Bandung, Indonesia

THE BACK STORY

Veteran Indonesian artist and sculptor Sunaryo used the surrounding mountains as inspiration for Wot Batu, which means "simple stone bridge" in Old Javanese. He created this transcendental masterpiece as a spiritual bridge – or passage - for the soul. Volcanic stone sculptures integrate the elements – earth, wind, fire and water – and sit against a sweeping view over Bandung. Some stones include incisions and inlays for future generations to discover. This rich and complex place encourages reflection and contemplation.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-6pm, admission 50,000 Indonesian rupiahs adult (A$4.75); Bandung, West Java, is 160 kilometres from Jakarta. See wotbatu.id

THE ARTIST

Kumari Nahappan

THE WORK Mala, 2014

THE LOCATION

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

THE BACK STORY

The interior designer turned artist, well-known for the Orchard Road Nutmeg and Mace sculpture in her home country of Singapore and an oversized saga seed within Changi airport, created another monumental food tribute in Chengdu, a 2011 UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Her monumental fiery local chilli pepper is a tribute to the food of China's Sichuan province. The sculpture's scale and bold colour signify just how important cuisine is in the province's cultural identity.

View any time, Chengdu International Finance Square. See kumarinahappan.com

THE ARTIST

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

© 2018 Frédéric Boudin
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SUPPLIED via journalistIlya and Emilia Kabakov, The Ball, 2017. Courtesy Pace Gallery/ Kistefos-Museet. Copyright Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Photo: Frédéric Boudin

THE WORK

The Ball, 2017

THE LOCATION

Kistefos-Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

THE BACK STORY

The conceptual-art collaborators, Soviet emigres who now live on Long Island, are known for pointed takes on their former homeland. At Kistefos Museum, one of Scandinavia's largest sculpture parks, the Kabakovs' piece is more universal. The Ball was inspired by Sisyphus of Greek mythology, condemned to push a rock up a hill for eternity. Here, the protagonist has helpers, emphasising unity and teamwork.

Kistefos Museum, just over an hour's drive from Oslo, closes in colder months and reopens in May, 2019. Its sculpture park can be visited year-round, admission 75 krone (A$12). See kistefos.museum.no

THE ARTIST

Micha Ullman

*** ONE TIME TRAVELLER USE ONLY ****** FOR USE RELATED TO DESTINATION ART BOOK BY PHAIDON ***satdec15cover destination art ; edited by Katrina LobleycoverpossibleSUPPLIED via journalistMicha Ullman, Equinox, 2005–9. Gift in honor of Shoshana Cardin, on the occasion of her 80th birthday, by her children and grandchildren, USA. With additional support from Shirley and Frank Lowy, Sydney, Australia, in honor of Dov Gottesman’s 75th birthday, and the Barbara and Eugene Schwartz Contemporary Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Copyright The Israel Museum by Ohad Matalon.

THE WORK

Equinox, 2005–9

THE LOCATION

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

THE BACK STORY

Some of Ullman's work, such as his powerful Bibliotek beneath Berlin's Bebelplatz where Nazis burned books in 1933, is dubbed "subterranean sculpture". The same term applies to Equinox. Peek into the ground window in the Billy Rose Art Garden and a five-metre-deep whitewashed chamber with an opening leading to a dark corridor is revealed. The viewer's shadow is projected into the space but something special happens at noon on the spring and fall equinoxes when a mysterious "door" of sunlight materialises.

Open daily, hours vary; the garden includes works by Picasso, Rodin and Moore, museum admission 54 shekels (A$19.70), imj.org.il

THE ARTIST

Roy Lichtenstein

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SUPPLIED via journalist379 Roy Lichtenstein, House III, 1997 (fabricated 2002). Picture credit: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods in honor of its company members, 2003.65. Copyright: Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/ DACS 2018

THE WORK

House III, 1997 (fabricated 2002)

THE LOCATION

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, US

THE BACK STORY

This playful, smaller-than-life aluminium sculpture reflects the pop-art icon's interest in exploring perspective, with the house shape only visible at a certain angle. While the house's corner appears to loom forward, a stroll around the piece reveals that the eye has been fooled. The museum is a few blocks from Margaret Mitchell House – a fascinating house-museum showcasing the life of the Gone With the Wind author.

View any time, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Midtown, Atlanta. See high.org

THE ARTIST

James Turrell

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SUPPLIED via journalist496 James Turrell, Unseen Blue, 2002. Courtesy Pace Gallery. Copyright James Turrell.Photo: Florian Holzherr.

THE WORK

Unseen Blue, 2002

THE LOCATION

James Turrell Museum, near Molinos, Argentina

THE BACK STORY

You need wheels and a sense of adventure to reach this remote museum, the only one dedicated entirely to the American artist's pioneering light works and sculptures. Installed across nine purpose-built chambers, works include Unseen Blue, one of the artist's mesmerising skyspaces. Visitors watch the sky's shifting colours through a roof aperture as natural and artificial light mingle to hypnotic effect. The museum is the brainchild of Swiss tycoon and international winemaker, Donald Hess.

Guided tours twice-daily Tuesday to Sunday, bookings required, Colomé Winery and Estate. See bodegacolome.com

THE ARTIST

Yayoi Kusama

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ShutterstockNAOSHIMA, JAPAN. MAY 13: Yayoi Kusama's giant pumpkin sculpture in front of the sea. Ma7 13, 2016 in Naoshima Art island, Japan.

Photo: Shutterstock

THE WORK

Pumpkin, 1994

THE LOCATION

Naoshima, Japan

THE BACK STORY

If there's one artwork that symbolises Naoshima, it's Kusama's adorable polka-dotted pumpkin on a pier that welcomes visitors to Benesse Art Site Naoshima, an art and architecture destination of international renown. If you've been hanging to see this piece in person, plan to go in 2019 when the Setouchi Triennale returns, activating 12 "art islands" in three seasonal sessions.

View any time, the 2019 Setouchi Triennale is on from April 26-May 26, July 19-August 25 and September 28-November 4. See benesse-artsite.jp setouchi-artfest.jp

THE ARTIST

Robert Smithson

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Photo: Alamy

THE WORK

Spiral Jetty, 1970

THE LOCATION

Great Salt Lake, Utah, US

THE BACK STORY

Smithson's monumental earthwork, considered one of the world's greatest examples of land art, was created when he bulldozed 6000 tonnes of black basalt rocks and soil into a coil that spirals anti-clockwise from the shore into the salt lake. Created at a moment when lake levels were low, it was submerged in 1972 but it's been visible since 2002 when droughts caused the lake to recede. Smithson was attracted to the lake's north arm because of the water's rosy hue, a result of microbes.

View any time, Spiral Jetty, on the lake's north-eastern shore, is a 2.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City. See spiraljetty.org

THE ARTIST

Yoko Ono

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Photo: Alamy

THE WORK

Imagine Peace Tower, 2007

THE LOCATION

Reykjavik, Iceland

THE BACK STORY

The wishing-well-like stone base of this monument, conceived by Ono as a tribute to husband John Lennon, is inscribed with the words "imagine peace" in 24 languages. The tower of light, which reaches 4km into the sky, is powered geothermally. Ono travels to Iceland annually to relight the tower each October 9.

Videy Island, Kollafjordur Bay; the tower is lit annually October 9-December 8 (Lennon's birthday to death day), December 21-31 (winter solstice to New Year's Eve), February 18 (Ono's birthday) and March 20-27 (spring equinox, wedding and honeymoon). Mostly, it's lit from an hour after sunset until midnight (see website for variations), guided tours 5000 krona ($55.50) and include pick-up from Reykjavik hotels and guesthouses. See imaginepeacetower.com

THE ARTIST

Salvador Dali

THE WORK

Mae West Room, 1974

THE LOCATION

Figueres, Spain

THE BACK STORY

The Dali Theatre-Museum is ridiculously busy – some 1.2 million visitors filed through its rooms in 2017 to experience Dali's genius – but the highlight for many is the Mae West Room. The installation is a 3D rendition of the Dali collage, Mae West's Face Which May Be Used as a Surrealist Apartment. It's worth queuing to climb the stairs to the vantage point framing the furniture as a quirky rendition of the actress's face. For a more relaxed experience, head to Gala Dali Castle 40 kilometres away in Pubol which receives a mere 88,000 visitors a year.

Open Tuesday to Sunday (daily July to September), hours vary, admission 14 euros adult. See salvador-dali.org

THE ARTIST

Jaume Plensa

THE WORK

Wonderland, 2008–12

THE LOCATION

500 Centre Street S, Calgary, Canada

THE BACK STORY

Alberta's Calgary is an oil and cowboy town, famous for the annual Stampede, yet it's also coming of age. Among its cultural attractions is Wonderland – a 12-metre sculpture of a young girl's head. The painted stainless steel structure includes two "doors" at its base, allowing visitors to wander into it and to see the city through its face-shaped mesh. This interactive element is characteristic of the Spanish artist's work – another crowd-pleasing piece is his Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park that incorporates video art. When the water features operate between mid-spring and mid-autumn, water appears to spout from the mouths of 1000 featured Chicagoans.

View any time. See visitcalgary.com

THE ARTIST

Jason deCaires Taylor

THE WORK

Crossing the Rubicon, 2017

THE LOCATION

Museo Atlantico, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

THE BACK STORY

With his underwater museums, deCaires Taylor – a British eco-sculptor - hopes to focus people's minds on marine conservation and ecology. His submerged sculptures, found in the Caribbean and off Spain's Canary Islands near Morocco, also function as artificial reefs. Crossing the Rubicon, located in what is Europe's first underwater sculpture park, comprises 35 figures heading towards a gateway in an underwater wall – a scene that emphasises the notion that boundaries are irrelevant in the natural world.

Visitors require a licence allowing dives to depths of 15 metres where the sculptures are located, dive tour from 55 euros. See underwatermuseumlanzarote.com

THE ARTIST

Ai Weiwei

THE WORK Yiwu Riverbank, 2003

THE LOCATION

Jinhua, Zhejiang, China

THE BACK STORY

The outspoken Chinese artist-activist has a familial connection to Jinhua – his poet father, Ai Qing, was born in the small city. Ai transformed a stretch of the Yiwu riverbank with angular granite structures that include sloping terraces, promenades and parks. Not only are they spaces for contemplation – they stabilise the bank and provide flood protection. Ai also invited 16 architects to join him in each designing a pavilion for the nearby Jinhua Ai Qing Cultural Park.

View any time, Jinhua is 330km south-west of Shanghai. See en.tourzj.com

THE ARTIST

Leandro Erlich

THE WORK

Swimming Pool, 1999/2004

THE LOCATION

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan

THE BACK STORY

Argentinian artist Erlich's illusory swimming pool, installed in the museum's courtyard, often astonishes visitors. It resembles a regular pool but the shimmering water, trapped between glass, is only 10cm deep. The work is at its vibrant best when visitors wander into its aquamarine depths to peer at those standing above – there's often an unexpected feeling of connectedness as people lock eyes through the aquatic layer.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-6pm (8pm Fridays and Saturdays), admission from 360 yen adult, Kanazawa is 2.5 hours from Tokyo by bullet train. See kanazawa21.jp/en

THE ARTIST

Judy Chicago

THE WORK

The Dinner Party, 1979

THE LOCATION

Brooklyn Museum, New York, US

THE BACK STORY

Chicago's iconic feminist installation celebrates the role of women in the history of Western civilisation, with 39 places set at the triangular banquet table for remarkable historical and mythical women such as ancient poet Sappho and artist Georgia O'Keeffe. The theatrical assemblage, which occupies a dimly lit room, incorporates ceramics and embroidery, as well as the names of 999 other heroic women. Chicago took five years to create the epic work with the help of 400 volunteers.

Open Wednesday to Sunday 11am-6pm (10pm Thursdays), admission US$16 adults. See brooklynmuseum.org

THE ONE ARTWORK I'D TRAVEL FOR

THE ART CRITIC

JOHN MCDONALD, SMH ART CRITIC

If I had to choose a unique, heart-stopping work of art worth a special trip, it would be Matthias Grünewald's Isenheim Altarpiece in the small French town of Colmar, close to the Swiss and German borders. Dating from 1512-16, this multi-panel masterpiece depicts the major incidents in the life of Christ. When the outer wings are closed we see the Crucifixion, when opened we view a Nativity scene. It's the Crucifixion that stays in one's mind: an agonised Christ covered in ugly welts that recall the marks of the Plague, dripping blood from multiple wounds. The painting was completed during the Renaissance but the mind-cast is medieval. It exerted a powerful influence on the German Expressionists of the 20th century, and even on American artist, Jasper Johns. See musee-unterlinden.com

THE GALLERY DIRECTOR

DR MICHAEL BRAND, DIRECTOR, ART GALLERY OF NSW

The work I'm plotting to visit is the monumental 2400-year-old Goddess of Morgantina at the Archaeological Museum of Aidone in central Sicily. I know this goddess well already for she had, since 1988, been a prized possession of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles where I was director from 2005-10. After my investigations and negotiations with the Italian government revealed her purported provenance was highly improbable, she was returned to Italy in 2011. I'd now love to see her in her new home, in a former 17th-century Capuchin monastery near the archaeological site of Morgantina. See visitsicily.info

THE ARTIST

PRUDENCE FLINT, MELBOURNE

I would travel back to see Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross, a series of frescos surrounding the main altar of the Basilica of St Francis in Arezzo. They depict an outlandish medieval folktale of the miracles of the wood of Christ's cross. There is an elegant frozen battle scene with banners, armour, swords and horses in mid-flight that takes you into a strange, calm, dreamlike world. Another haunting scene is the Queen of Sheba kneeling before a wooden bridge with a background of trees and sky. The repeated figures in coloured robes are layered, solemn and flooded with cool saturated light. See museistataliarezzo.it

THE ART APPRECIATOR

KYLIE NORTHOVER, DEPUTY EDITOR SPECTRUM, THE AGE

South Africa's uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, in KwaZulu-Natal province, is on my wish list. It's home to more than 20,000 pictographs in about 500 caves and overhang sites – considered to be the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa. They're not the oldest in the world - those are thought to be in Australia - but the paintings, many of which involve a hiking tour to reach, are famed for their subject matter depicting the lives of the San bushmen who once lived here. The paintings depict daily life as well as many non-human and half-human/half-animal hybrids, believed to be medicine men. See southafrica.net

THE ARTIST

REG MOMBASSA, SYDNEY

One of my favourite sculptures is the M1 (previously known as the F3). A globally notable motorway, it runs north from Sydney, crossing the Hawkesbury River and proceeding past Gosford and Wyong towards Newcastle. The most impressive feature of this highway, apart from the majestic scenery it travels through, is the variety of the striated layers of rock and sandstone visible at the roadside. It is like travelling through a vast and earthy wedding cake that has been carved and blasted by dozer-blade and dynamite. Some of its canyons and cuttings and plunging bends resemble ancient megaliths and megastructures, or the type of Roman amphitheatre that you could easily race a chariot around. We should thank the creators of this long and loopy sculpture for transporting and entertaining generations of motorists.

Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip is published by Phaidon, phaidon.com, $49.95

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