Art is a form of communication and self-expression and paint is one of the most commonly used art mediums. It is an art form that uses different colors, textures, and surfaces to tell stories and express ideas and emotions.

Painting is also known to develop one’s fine motor skills, critical thinking, and concentration. Some study painting for its therapeutic benefits. Others simply want to learn a new skill. Whatever your reason is for wanting to study painting, it is also important to know the best places to go to study it for you to be immersed in and inspired by its creative culture which will enhance your learning experience.

Listed below are some of the best countries to study painting abroad along with some of the top schools for art and painting to enroll in.

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Top Countries to Study Painting

1. Italy

  • Reason: artistic culture and environment, good programs

Italy is indeed one of the best countries to study painting as it is the birthplace of many world-famous painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Painting, and art in general, is deeply ingrained in the country’s history and culture since it is also the place where several artistic movements originated. Living and studying in Italy will allow you to personally view the famous works of classical, Renaissance, and contemporary artists and witness art in every form in every corner of the city you choose.

There is an abundance of art schools and universities in Italy that offer programs in painting. Students learn traditional and modern painting techniques using different painting mediums such as watercolor, oil, and fresco. Other than classroom lectures and spending time in their studio, students also take part in different workshops and activities to help them find their artistic voice and style, build their portfolios, and establish connections in the industry.

Some of the best institutions to study painting in Italy are the University of Florence, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome University of Fine Arts, Accademia Riaci, and the Florence Classical Arts Academy.

2. Belgium

  • Reason: high-quality education, welcoming environment, many artistic attractions, theoretical and practical learning

Many universities in Belgium are known for providing the best quality of higher education in Europe and for having a welcoming environment for international students. Art students and enthusiasts from around the world travel to the country to visit its most famous museums and galleries such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the René Magritte Museum, and the Rubens House where they can view the works of individuals with significant contributions in Belgian art such as René Magritte, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony van Dyck.

Theory and practice go hand-in-hand in the art programs offered in Belgium. Students learn about different theories, philosophies, and the history of art and painting. They also attend several workshops and exhibits, visit the studios of the most prominent contemporary Belgian painters and carry out different projects in collaboration with various artists and professionals.

Being one of the top places to study painting, Belgium has several art and design institutes and universities that offer degrees in visual arts and painting. Among them are the Catholic University of Leuven, Ghent University, LUCA School of Arts, La Cambre Bruxelles, and the University of Liege.

3. United Kingdom

  • Reason: artistic culture, world-class institutions, practical learning

Considered as one of the most influential countries on contemporary art, the United Kingdom takes pride in its numerous art galleries, museums, exhibits, festivals, and other events celebrating artistic expression. The government allocates a significant amount of funding for the country’s art and culture industry. The UK also has several prestigious universities and institutions offering art programs in a wide range of specializations including painting.

Students taking degrees and courses in painting in the UK are trained to become creative and independent artists by encouraging them to freely express themselves, explore their interests, and find their artistic voice through the use of different mediums and techniques. They learn from internationally-acclaimed artists and participate in several workshops, demonstrations, and work placements to gain practical knowledge and professional experience before graduation.

Some of the best institutions to study painting in the UK include the Glasgow School of Art, Royal College of Art, University of Oxford, University College London, and the University of Cambridge.

4. Mexico

  • Reason: unique, vibrant, and artistic culture

Mexican art is characterized by bold and vibrant colors and often draws inspiration from its history, culture, traditions, and values. Mexico is one of the best countries to study painting because it is one of the country’s oldest art forms and can be found in caves depicting different events and abstract images created by their ancestors. Paint is also used in modern Mexican art and is applied in different materials such as canvas, murals, textiles, and pottery.

Studying painting in Mexico will immerse you in its unique culture which is influenced by ancient and western civilizations and allow you to witness the various ways in how its people from different parts of the country express themselves through art and painting. By the end of their programs, students are expected to produce a catalog or portfolio of their work, plan their own exhibits, and present their work to the public.

Some of the top universities in Mexico offering painting degrees and courses are the National Autonomous University of Mexico, University of Guanajuato, Autonomous University of Puebla, National Polytechnic Institute, and the Metropolitan Autonomous University.

5. The Netherlands

  • Reason: numerous attractions and top-rated universities

The Netherlands is one of the most popular destinations for art students and enthusiasts around the world. The country boasts of its many art galleries and museums displaying numerous artworks from those made by the old masters from the Dutch Golden Age to the works of famous contemporary Dutch artists portraying scenes from everyday life, cityscapes and landscapes, portraits, and floral still lifes. The country is also teeming with charming towns and villages, amusement parks, tulip fields, and other breathtaking views that you can draw inspiration from for your artworks.

Having a rich history in art and painting, art degrees in the Netherlands are internationally recognized for providing high-quality education and cultivating artistic talents. Among the top universities in the country for painting are the University of Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, Maastricht University, Leiden University, and Erasmus University Rotterdam.


Hopefully, this article on the best countries to study painting was informative & insightful. Make sure to also check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!