LONDON - The Louvre in Paris topped the list of the most visited art museums in 2012, according to the Art Newspaper.
The publication's annual survey found that the French museum had more than 9.7 million visitors last year - one million more compared to the year before.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was the second most-visited venue, followed by three London museums.
The British Museum, Tate Modern and National Gallery took the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively.
While familiar names still dominate the top spots, the top 20 most-visited exhibitions list features less-expected names in places such as Brazil and China, the BBC reported.
It said that would not have been the case a few years ago, when Europe and America were still the only big players.
The shifting patterns of museum visiting also reflect the changing world order.
With the Louvre and New York's Guggenheim due to open branches in Abu Dhabi, Mexico's hatching of ambitious plans, and the rapid emergence of India as a major museum player, the league of global exhibition powerhouses is likely to change further in the coming years.
The world's big conurbations will likely rise to the top, through nation states building or modernising their museums.
Increasingly, corporations with a keen eye for the arts and a nose for brand-building have also helped elevate their countries' standing on the world stage.
The Bank of Brazil, for example, was behind the South American nation's recent exhibition successes. Korean electronics giant Samsung has also built an impressive art museum, The Leeum, in Seoul.
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