The Louvre gallery in Paris – home of famous works such as the Mona Lisa – was the most popular art attraction in the world in 2011.

This is according to the Art Newspaper, which claimed nearly 8.9 million people passed through the gallery's doors over the 12-month period, the BBC reports.

Second in the table was New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, with just over six million visitors, while three British institutions rounded out the top five.

These were the British Museum (5.8 million visitors), the National Gallery (5.2 million) and the Tate Modern (4.8 million).

A spokeswoman for the Tate Modern said the increase in visitor numbers seen by the location reflected "the increasing worldwide interest in culture and the arts".

The National Gallery added in a statement the figures are a testament to the continuing relevance of Old Master paintings to viewers and the wide appeal of the exhibitions it had put on throughout the year.

Deputy editor of the Art Newspaper Javier Pes said he was unsurprised by the findings of the research, which revealed visitor numbers to galleries around the world have continued to climb, despite the impact of the global economic downturn.

He noted there has been a trend of museums falling back on old classics in order to draw in crowds, highlighting the Met as seeing great success with its Picasso exhibition.

"Museums have had to be creative with their collections," he said. "But there is obviously still an appetite out there and the museums are offering good value for money."

Elsewhere, individuals seeking to view contemporary pieces may have been interested in an exhibition of digital art that took place in San Francisco this month.

The Creators project enlisted the help of Intel to combine the latest technology with works of art, with David Haroldsen, Intel creative director for the project, telling Business Insider the firm wanted to bring some of the world's most innovative artists together and provide "groundbreaking global exposure" for the art and technology worlds.

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