Not to be missed exhibitions in 2018

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“Impossible to see the future is”, said Yoda, and that’s certainly been true in respect of the art I’ve seen throughout 2017. I couldn’t have imagined for example how spectacular the Bernini exhibition currently on at the Galleria Borghese would be. Likewise, the Arcimboldo exhibition at the Palazzo Barberini. Both had been unknown to me back in January 2017. But that doesn’t stop us non-Jedi trying, so here are the 5 things I’m looking forward to visiting in 2018.

Fingers crossed it lives up to the last 12 months because looking back we really did see some fantastic stuff. Both the highly acclaimed Vermeer at the Louvre, which kicked of the artist year for us, and then the Caravaggio at the Palazzo Reale which bookended the year were fabulous. Both exhibitions will stay long in the memory and have raised the bar in terms of what we should expect from a truly great exhibition.

It’s difficult to imagine how a collection of 1,500 or more works can be reassembled. In reality we are likely to see less than a tenth of the works this pioneering monarch put together. But given the strength of the present Royal Collection, I’m confident what we will see should be truly majestic. There are also some impressive loans from Europe’s premier galleries such as the Louvre and the Prado. The Royal Academy is doing a great job much more so than the rather off the boil National Gallery. I have several friends who won’t be renewing there NG membership on the basis of the last couple of years.

  • Raffaello and the echo of the myth at the Academia Carrara 27 January to 6 May

This exhibition is in itself a little delayed – my wife and I had hoped to see it alongside the Caravaggio at Christmas but that we’ve had to be all phlegmatic and Italian about the delay. There is a considerable upside in that we can also visit Brescia as part of the same trip. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

Raphael sadly died aged just 37, coincidentally the same age as your blogger, in April 1520. We are likely to see an increasing number of exhibitions of this almost universally popular Old Master as we approach the 500th Anniversary of his death. Raphael’s home town Urbino had bid to be City of Culture in 2019 and I will certainly making a visit back to the region given half a chance.

The exhibitions I’ve seen at the Palazzo Reale have been nothing short of breath taking. So I have very high hopes for this Dürer. I’m unashamedly a Dürer fan. Last weekend I went all the way to Prague to see his Feast of the Rosary. Barely a year goes by without at least one person sending me it as an image on a Christmas card and I wasn’t disappointed.

The show will focus on Dürer’s relationship with Italy and the artistic panorama of the cities of Venice, Rome, Mantua and Ferrara. Alongside works by the Nuremberg master, those of contemporaries like Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Altdorfer and Baldung Grien in Germany; and Giorgione, Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Lorenzo Lotto in Italy.

  • Italian Paintings from Northern France: Dialogues and Connections at the Glass Pavilion – Louvre Lens from October 18, 2017 – May 28, 2018

I’ve not made it to Lens to see this Louvre outpost in the 5 years it’s been open but this exhibition is finally going to make me go.

Fostering dialogue around four themes, the exhibition makes connections between some twenty paintings by Italians of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. It proposes a fascinating counterpoint to the Italian masterpieces on display in the Galerie du Temps (Botticelli, Perugino, Raphael, Tintoretto, etc.) that precedes the Glass Pavilion.

A visit to the Alte Pinoteck in Munich is always worthwhile and this year Ale and I intend to combine it with a visit to Nuremberg to take in some of the German Christmas markets.

The exhibition takes a look at the groundbreaking innovations that occurred in painting in the birthplace of the Renaissance. In the early 19th century, Ludwig I of Bavaria was able to purchase several spectacular and seminal works by Florentine painters for the Munich collections. These panels are now joined by numerous high-profile loans.

Given my earlier comments you can understand why I’ve not put in either of the Lotto or Bellini exhibitions which take place this year at the National Gallery. I will certainly visit both. But it’s more a sign of how I’ve lost confidence in the Gallery’s ability to bowl me over.

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