It is that time of year when people book holidays or look forward to the year ahead. Most of my trips are already planned in with attention now turning to 2021… However, art wise I think that 2020 will be a great year. The next 12 months will have some great exhibitions and here are the highlights of what Alessandra and I will be visiting.
1) Van Eyck An Optical Revolution (1 February until 30 April)
The Ghent Exhibition of Van Eyck will I’m sure be a blockbuster and it is already in my mind approaching something like the Bosch exhibition of 2016 – this was also a homecoming of sorts for the Cities most famous son! I wanted to see the Ghent Altarpiece for years and wasn’t disappointed. I have been a huge Van Eyck fan ever since. The inclusion of some of outer panels makes this really special. Continue reading 5 exhibitions to look forward to in 2020
“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. Continue reading Not to be missed exhibitions in 2018
You have to go all the way back to the Rembrandt the Late Works exhibition in October 2014 to find a stand out exhibition at the National Gallery. What’s followed since then hasn’t been devoid of interest, but is it as interesting as the current Vermeer at the Louvre? Certainly not. This ultimately is the National Gallery’s immediate peer group and the type of exhibition it will be judged against.
Having been severely underwhelmed by the Australian Impressionists, I had high hopes for Michelangelo and Sebastiano. Continue reading Has the National Gallery gone off the boil?
For me, my artistic year really doesn’t get going till next weekend when we are going to be visiting Lisbon to see just four paintings! Yes, I know, but to be honest I’m sure we’ll have a great time and with a Raphael, a Piero della Francesca and a Durer amongst others on the ‘must see’ list it will be great.
My visit this weekend to see the Australian Impressionist exhibition at the weekend left me with the distinct feeling that the National Gallery has lost its way a little. I’ve not really enjoyed the last 3-4 exhibitions and other UK based Galleries don’t seem to have the same draw for me as they did with some great shows like Giorgione at the RA in 2016.
So this year I’ll be casting my net a little further afield. Continue reading What to look forward to in 2017…
I’m unashamedly a big fan of the mega museums. I keep lists and tick them off. Yes, I’m that geeky. But it’s also important to recognise the great collections elsewhere. Recently my travels took me to Bergamo and the Accademia Carrara.
It has recently undergone a makeover (it was closed from 2008-15) and the result is impressive. This is one of the best run museums Continue reading Brilliance and Lotto in Bergamo
Over the recent holidays I spent a few days being shown around Milan for the first time by my wife, who went to university in the city. With my list of some 28 paintings in hand, a priority stop for me was the Pinoteca di Brera. It’s certainly undergoing a real transformation under its impressive new Director. The energy he’s brought to the institution was evident in the new signs popping up at various points as well as the ongoing rehang.
But what really caught my attention in the gallery was the small little display entitled “Caravaggio. Readings and Re-readings” and, in particular, the recently discovered Judith Beheads Holofernes from Toulouse.
Is it indeed by the master himself? Continue reading Caravaggio Rediscovered
I’m a serial lover of lists, especially those about art and art museums around the world. A few years back I read a ‘Worlds 50 Best Art Gallery’s’ feature in The Times and thought that I needed to do more to get around them. I kept the paper and I’ve annotated each entry with the date I visited so far managing 29/50 in almost four years. You can read the feature (even if you aren’t a subscriber) on the following three links.
There are many other lists out there: Trip Advisor even has its own crowd sourced version, the Independent has a particularly good list of the UK and the Telegraph has a decent one on a largely European city basis. You can even do the online equivalent of rating yourself using this link. I make the top 1% Continue reading Topping the list: Is the National Gallery of Art really the best in the world?
Contemporary art, I confess, isn’t really my thing. There are the odd exceptions: Lucian Freud, for instance. But my coming to terms with contemporary art owes much to one man. Perhaps it’s the fact he’s from Yorkshire which means I was always more likely to be receptive.
David Hockney must by some distance be our greatest living artist. His shows have for years drawn public and critical acclaim and his latest, David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life, at the Royal Academy is no different. Continue reading David Hockney: a contemporary colossus
One of the many great joys of having an Italian wife is the not infrequent trips to see La Bella Italia. Recently that took me to the small, yet not all together uninteresting, city of Forli’. It’s not on the main tourist trail but it has in recent years been putting on a series of crowd pulling exhibitions. The present ‘Exploring a legend’ in the converted convent Dominican church and now Musei di San Domenico is on Piero della Francesca. Continue reading Piero Della Francesca: exploring a legend in Forli
“He is very old, yet, he is still the best painter of them all” – Albrecht Dürer – Visiting Venice for a second time in 1506
We live at a point in time at which we are fortunate to witness some big landmark commemorations. 2016 has already seen the 400th anniversary of death of William Shakespeare and the 500th anniversary of the passing of Hieronymus Bosch. Sadly, and this isn’t just a reflection on the disorder of the Italians, there are no such plans (at least as far as I am aware) at any major institutions to commemorate Giovani Bellini who died in November 1516. Continue reading After 500 years Bellini deserves so much more than a lone drunk