On Show - the best exhibitions from around the world

UNITED KINGDOM

BIRMINGHAM
A Tale of Two Empires: Rome and Persia

Late Roman and Sasanian coins from the Barber's collection tell the story of the tumultuous relationship between the Roman and the Persian empires from the 3rd to the 7th centuries AD. Images on the coins and on seals on loan from the Fitzwilliam Museum bear portraits of kings and emperors – such as the silver antoninianus (above) of Valerian I (AD 253–260), – and also tell stories of bloody conflicts, political alliances, artistic exchanges, betrayals and revenge.
Barber Institute of Fine Arts
+44 (0)121 414 7333
(barber.org.uk)
Until 15 March 2020.


CARDIFF

Imagine a Castle: Paintings from the National Gallery, London

The National Gallery's acquisition of the Venetian master Bernardo Bellotto's landscape, The Fortress of Königstein from the North, circa 1756–58 (above) is currently being celebrated in a tour around the UK with five other works, all featuring castles and fortresses, both real and imagined. The selection of paintings travelling around the country highlights the various ways that artists have portrayed castles over the past 500 years, whether chronicling real buildings and their state of preservation, providing an imaginary backdrop for stories from ancient Rome and Christian legend, or using castle ruins as a metaphor for decline. The first stop on the tour is at the National Museum Cardiff, where the paintings from the National Gallery will draw attention to the variety of castles depicted in the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and encourage new ways of looking at these works. After their sojourn in Cardiff, the National Gallery paintings will travel to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (Castles: Paintings from the National Gallery, London, 25 July–15 November 2020) before moving on to Norfolk and Norwich Castle Museum (Castles: Reality, History and Myth, Paintings from the National Gallery, London,
28 November 2020–7 March 2021).
National Museum Cardiff
+44 (0)300 111 2 333
(museumwales.ac.uk)
From 28 January to 10 May 2020.

EDINBURGH
Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

The wealth of drawings left behind by Leonardo far outnumber his celebrated paintings (of which he completed around 20) and, as many of his projects were unrealised or destroyed, they offer a valuable insight into his wide-ranging work – as a sculptor, architect, military and civil engineer and anatomist. Commemorating the 500th anniversary Leonardo's death, this exhibition – the largest of his work in Scotland – presents 80 of his drawings in the Royal Collection to provide a comprehensive survey of the artist's life and interests. Studies, such as The Head of Leda, circa 1505-8 (above), made for his now-lost painting, Leda and the Swan, cartography, studies of horses and equestrian monuments are all on show.
The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse
+44 (0)303 123 7306
(rct.uk)
From 22 November 2019 to
15 March 2020.

 

LONDON
Sir Stamford Raffles: collecting in Southeast Asia 1811–1824

Although regarded as a somewhat controversial figure today, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781–1826), who served as Lieutenant-Governor of Java and Lieutenant-Governor of Sumatra, is credited with being the founder of the modern city-state of Singapore (which, last year, marked its bicentenary). Raffles was a keen collector of objects from Southeast Asia, especially Java, and this exhibition, which is being held in collaboration with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, presents a range of objects from his own collection, which bear witness to the art and court cultures of Java from the 7th to the early 19th century. Among the exhibits are puppets, masks, a 9th-century bronze Bodhisattva, and drawings of sites, buildings, and sculptures. The latter includes one, a Dutch drawing dating from 1785–88 (above) which shows the Hindu god Surya being conveyed in a European-style chariot drawn by four horses. This exhibition highlights Raffles' interest in recording and learning about the region's heritage.
British Museum
+44 (0)20 7323 8000
(britishmuseum.org)
Until 12 January 2020.

LONDON
Portraying Pregnancy

Before the 20th century, many women spent much of their time pregnant, yet this state is rarely seen in surviving portraits. This exhibition examines portraits of pregnant women from the 15th century to today, bringing together paintings, photographs, clothing and other objects, to chart how social attitudes have changed and affected the portrayal of pregnancy over time. Highlights include: Hans Holbein II's Cicely Heron, 1526–27, and, more recently, from 2017, Annie Leibovitz's photograph for the cover of Vanity Fair, showing a pregnant Serena Williams; as well as the most liked Instagram post of 2017, Awol Erizku's photograph
of Beyoncé pregnant with twins.
Foundling Museum
+44 (0)20 7841 3600
(foundlingmuseum.org.uk)
From 24 January to 26 April 2020.

LONDON
Charlotte Salomon: Life or Theatre?

Born in Berlin in 1917, German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon created her extraordinary work, Life? or Theatre? A Play with Music in the early 1940s, while she was in hiding in the south of France. In 1943, she was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where she was killed at the age of 26 – she was five months pregnant. Life? or Theatre? A Play with Music consists of over 700 gouaches, divided into a prelude, main section, and epilogue, each with its distinct acts and scenes. Together, they present a potent personal narrative with tremendous emotional depth that spans the artist's family life, her training at the Art Academy in Berlin, the rise of the Nazis, and her exile in France. Painted in vivid hues, combining image, text and musical references, the gouaches intertwine personal relationships and experiences, such as love (above), with chilling, murderous political machinations. This exhibition features more than 230 gouaches, including 50 that have never shown in London before.
Jewish Museum
+44 (0)20 7284 7384
(jewishmuseum.org.uk)
Until 1 March 2020.

LONDON
Young Bomberg and the Old Masters

The energetic early works of British modernist artist David Bomberg (1890–1957) give a glimpse of his attitude towards the art of the past. While he rejected tradition, he made frequent references to the Old Masters whom he studied closely in order to attempt his own sort of artistic renewal, far removed from imitation, as this show demonstrates through its juxtaposition of works by Bomberg the Modernist next to paintings by his favourite artists, such as Botticelli's Portrait of a Young Man, circa 1480–85 (right).
National Gallery
+44 0800 912 6958
(nationalgallery.org.uk)
Until 1 March 2020.

LONDON
George IV: Art & Spectacle

Both while Prince Regent and king, George IV was a keen patron of the arts and a collector, acquiring a large number of fine works that are now in the Royal Collection. The most expensive painting he purchased was The Shipbuilder and his Wife, 1633, by Rembrandt, for 5,000 guineas. This was just one of several works by 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painters popular with the French aristocracy. King George IV was a great admirer of French style, particularly Sèvres porcelain, and, following the upheaval of the French Revolution, he took advantage of the situation by buying artworks, once owned by French aristocrats, that flooded the market. He was also a supporter of British artists, such as Lawrence, Reynolds, and Gainsborough, whose only surviving mythological painting, Diana and Actaeon, circa 1785–88 (above ), he purchased after the painter's death. Other highlights on show include a red and yellow feather cap, or 'ahu'ula, which was a diplomatic gift from King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamamalu of the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii); and a copy of Jane Austen's Emma, which was sent to the king by her publisher after she visited George IV's royal residence, Carlton House.
The Queen's Gallery,
Buckingham Palace
+44 (0)30 3123 7301
(www.rct.uk)
Until 4 May 2020.

LONDON
Picasso and Paper

Throughout his 80-year career, Picasso (1881–1973) made use of a wide range of media, including painting, ceramics and sculpture. He also worked extensively with, and on, paper, as this exhibition shows – one example is a linocut entitled Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe after Manet I (above). More than 300 works (including many loans from the Musée national Picasso-Paris) have been brought together to examine the different ways Picasso used paper over the decades. His drawings using watercolour, pastel and gouache on a range of papers, collages of cut-and-pasted papers, and sculptures made of torn and burnt papers, are all on view. The exhibition also looks at how Picasso tried a range of printing techniques, including etching, drypoint, engraving, aquatint, lithograph and linocut.
Royal Academy
+44 (0)20 7300 8090
(royalacademy.org.uk)
From 25 January to 13 April 2020.

LONDON
Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

The first floor of the Science Museum has been transformed to present the world's largest medicine galleries. Across the five newly opened galleries are more than 3,000 medical artefacts from the collections of Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum Group, tracing the development and history of medicine, and other displays that highlight the stories of practitioners and patients. The many artefacts on show include 200-year-old anatomical wax models, lancets used by Edward Jenner in his smallpox vaccinations, medicine chests taken to Mount Everest and Antarctica and the first stethoscope, MRI scanner and paramedic bicycle. Alongside these historic objects are four specially commissioned artworks, serving as visual interventions to prompt new ways of connecting with the exhibits and stories presented. These include portraits by photographer Sîan Davey, and a monumental bronze sculpture called Self-Conscious Gene (above ) by Marc Quinn; it was inspired by the model Rick Genest and his many tattoos.
Science Museum
+44 (0)20 7942 4000
(www.sciencemuseum.ac.uk)
Ongoing.

LONDON
British Baroque: Power and Illusion

Between the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and the death of Queen Anne in 1714, exuberant art and architecture were used to express power, status and influence. This was a time when the focus was shifting from the royal court to party politics. The British take on the Baroque is often overlooked, and this exhibition is the first to delve into the culture of that time in Britain, showcasing paintings by Godfrey Kneller and James Thornhill, as well as lesser-known names; and the architecture of Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor and John Vanbrugh. A study of religious art sheds light on the visual and devotional differences between the Catholic and Protestant worship, while equestrian portraits, panoramic battle scenes, and propaganda provide insight into the wars and politics that dominated the reigns of William III and Anne. Among the highlights are portraits by Sir Peter Lely, including Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland with her son, as Madonna and Child, 1664, which spotlight the important position held by royal mistresses; and Antonio Verrio's The Sea Triumph of Charles II, 1674 (above), which presents an over- the- top vision of kingly naval power.
Tate Britain
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
(tate.org.uk)
From 5 February to 19 April 2020.

LONDON
Dora Maar

For the first UK retrospective of the work of Dora Maar (1907–97), more than 200 works have been brought together to draw attention to little-known aspects of her oeuvre, as well as celebrating her distinctive photographs, such as Liberty, 1936 (above) and photomontages hailed as icons of Surrealism. Covering her 60-plus-year-long career, the works on view include commercial commissions, which reflect the fact that Maar
was part of a generation of women seizing new opportunities for work in advertising and the illustrated press; her street photography from 1930s Barcelona, Paris, and London, which captured harsh realities of Europe's economic depression; and her paintings. One highlight of the exhibition, which also explores Maar's personal and creative relationship with Pablo Picasso, is the enigmatic Portrait d'Ubu, 1936, a photograph of what is thought
to be an armadillo foetus and a key example of the sort of work that led her to become one of the few photographers whose work was included in Surrealist exhibitions and publications.
Tate Modern
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
(tate.org.uk)
Until 15 March 2020.

LONDON
CARS: Accelerating the Modern World

Cars relatively quickly became a firm feature of many modern lives and they continue to develop, with an increasing interest in electric cars and driverless vehicles. Bringing together a selection of historic motorcars, magazine illustrations and car designs, this exhibition traces the rise of the automobile, the assembly line and its profound impact on landscapes, cities and even subcultures. Of particular interest are the Benz Patent Motorwagen 3, the first-ever production car, launched in 1888; the Tatra T77, streamlined with sleek curves that influenced many designers; and a 1922 custom-made Hispano-Suiza Type H6B, which highlights the luxury market of early car design. Exhibits that also reflect luxury are Lalique's glass mascots for car bonnets, such as Victoire, circa 1925 (above).
V&A
+44 (0)20 7942 2000
(vam.ac.uk)
Until 19 April 2020.

LONDON
Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus

In 1923, Walter Gropius, founder of the ground-breaking art and design school the Bauhaus, said that it owed a debt to 'Ruskin and Morris of England'. Marking the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919, this exhibition explores the relationship between the famous German school and the influential English Arts and Crafts movement. Works made by William Morris and his circle and ceramics, furniture, textiles, prints, watercolours and photographs produced at the Bauhaus are shown side by side, drawing attention to the key themes and ideals that they shared, such as the integrity of design and manufacture, the unity of art and craft, the importance of community and collaboration, and the belief that design could change the world.
William Morris Gallery
+44 (0)20 8496 4390
(www.wmgallery.org.uk)
Until 26 January 2020.

LONDON
Buddhism

During the long history of Buddhism, with its roots in 6th-century BC north India, a rich array of art has been produced for manuscripts, silk scrolls, painted wall hangings, and folding books. Drawing from its strong collection of Asian manuscripts, the British Library's exhibition explores the philosophy and art of Buddhism across its three main schools, Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana, from 20 countries. Through scriptures (written on tree bark, palm leaves and gold), historical narratives, literary works and cosmologies on display, examine the iconography of the Buddha and the role of Buddhism in developing writing and printing techniques to spread information across Asia. It also reflects upon the relevance of the different branches of Buddhism today for its more than 500 million followers across the world. Rich images, such as the gold painting of Amitabha Bodhisattva (Amida Buddha) in a scroll containing the Lotus Sutra (above) 1636, from Japan, illustrate the story.
+44 (0)330 333 1144
(bl.uk)
Until 23 February 2020.

LONDON
Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

From his first major self-portrait, Man with a Feather, 1943, to Self-portrait, Reflection, 2002 (below), this exhibition charts the course of Lucian Freud's depictions of himself throughout nearly 70 years of his career. Works on paper as well as paintings, mainly on loan from private collections, draw attention to the playfulness of his early self-portraits, his use of mirrors and the changes to his technique, such as the use of coarse hog's hair brushes and standing, rather than sitting, when working.
Royal Academy of Arts
+44 (0)20 7300 8090
(royalacademy.org.uk)
Until 26 January 2020.

LONDON
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

More than 150 of the 'wonderful things' found by Howard Carter and his team in the almost intact tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 are arriving in London as part of an international tour, before they return to be displayed in the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Sculpture, a gilded wooden bed and jewellery trace Tutankhamun's journey from death through the underworld to immortality.
Saatchi Gallery
+44 (0)20 7811 3070
(saatchigallery.com)
From 2 November to 3 May 2020.

LONDON
Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security

To mark the centenary of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), the Science Museum presents an exhibition that delivers insights into the secretive workings of the UK's Intelligence, Security, and Cyber agency. More than 100 objects and first-person interviews help tell the stories of people who work to keep us safe, and chart the technological changes over the past century leading to digital security challenges today. Second World War cipher machines, secure telephones, an encryption key used by the Queen, a computer infected with WannaCry ransomware (which notably hit the NHS in 2017) are all on show, while interactive puzzles give visitors the chance to test their deciphering skills.
Science Museum
+44 (0)20 7942 4000
(www.sciencemuseum.ac.uk)
Until 23 February 2020.


LONDON

Inspired by the East: how the Islamic world influenced Western art

Exploring the relationship between 'East' and 'West' in art, this exhibition looks at five centuries of work from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America. In a collaboration between the British Museum and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, who have loaned a number of works, the show pays close attention to the tradition of Orientalism, as exemplified by European artists, such as Delacroix, and also shows contemporary responses to Orientalist imagery by female artists from the Middle East and North Africa. Ceramics, photography, manuscripts, clothing, jewellery, glassware and portraits, such as A Portrait of Sultan Bayezid I, circa 1580, School of Veronese (1528–1588, above) are all on show.
British Museum
+44 (0)20 7323 8000
(britishmuseum.org)
From 10 October to 26 January 2020.



LONDON

Gauguin Portraits

Most of the paintings made by French artist Paul Gauguin are self-portraits, such as his Self Portrait with 'The Yellow Christ', 1890-1891 (above), which he produced throughout his career, from its beginning to his final visit to the South Seas, a region which fascinated him. For this, the first exhibition devoted to the artist's portraits, a number of his self-portraits have been brought together along with works depicting his family and friends (including two notable artists Vincent van Gogh and Meijer de Haan, with whom relations were particularly fraught) in paintings, ceramics, sculptures, prints, and drawings. As well as Tahiti, Brittany also played an important role in the artist's early work, although it is the French Polynesian island with which he is most closely associated. The exhibition sets out to explore the current debates surrounding the artist's relationship with the island and the impact of colonialism.
National Gallery
+44 0800 912 6958
(nationalgallery.org.uk)
From 7 October to 26 January 2020.



LONDON

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security

To mark the centenary of GCHQ, the Science Museum presents an exhibition that delivers insights into the secretive workings of the UK's Intelligence, Security, and Cyber agency. More than 100 objects and first-person interviews help tell the stories of people who keep us safe and chart the technological changes over the past centuries, leading to digital security challenges today. Second World War cipher machines, secure telephones, an encryption key used by the Queen, and a computer infected with WannaCry ransomware (which hit the NHS in 2017) are among the exhibits, while interactive puzzles give visitors the chance to test out their skills. Elsewhere in the Science Museum, the new gallery Science City 1550-1800 is opening on 12 September. Centring on London's role as a world city, a hub of trade, exploration and scientific endeavour, it brings together instruments such globes and microscopes, including one designed by Robert Hooke (above), explores how evidence was examined, and considers the relationship between science and the monarchy.
Science Museum
+44 (0)20 7942 4000
(www.sciencemuseum.ac.uk)
Until 23 February 2020.


MILTON KEYNES
George Stubbs: 'all done from Nature'

A self-taught painter, printmaker, and draughtsman, the 18th-century artist George Stubbs was also a fine anatomist, engaging in an intense 18-month period of dissection and classification, during which he produced a finished study for 'The Fourth Anatomical Table of the Muscles... of the Horse', 1756-1758 (above). Stubbs is known for his accurate, masterful studies of horses, exemplified in Whistlejacket, 1762, his most famous work, but he also studied human anatomy and had a keen interest in newly discovered animals across the globe, as seen in the range of paintings, prints and drawings on display here.
MK Gallery
+44(0)1908 676900
www.mkgallery.org
From 12 October to 26 January 2020.

 

NOTTINGHAM
Ivon Hitchens: Space Through Colour

At the start of the Second World War, artist Ivon Hitchens (1893–1979) left London for Sussex and spent the decades from the 1940s onwards focusing on the local landscapes and subjects close to home, to produce flower paintings, such as Flower Piece, 1943 (above ) and studies of interiors, the nude, and portraits of family members. This exhibition, which was organised in a partnership with Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (where it was shown last year) explores both his early London works, when the artist was part of the capital's avant garde and was influenced by Cézanne, Matisse and Braque, and his enduring fascination with the Sussex landscape from the 1940s onwards. Hitchens continued to experiment with his landscapes, featuring swathes of intense colour, becoming more and more abstract and with bolder brushwork as time went on.  
Djangoly Gallery, Lakeside Arts
+44 (0)115 846 7777
(lakesidearts.org.uk)
Until 23 February 2020.

OXFORD
First Animals

Remarkable, well-preserved, very early fossils can give fascinating snapshots of life on Earth about 540 million years ago. During the Cambrian Explosion, there was a huge increase in new life-forms in the world's oceans over a period of 20 million years. It is from many of the earliest creatures that we get the foundations for the body plans of all subsequent animal life. One example is the predatory penis worm, Cricocosmia jinningensis (above), which burrowed in the Cambrian sea floor sediments and used its fearsome toothed proboscis to capture prey. Fascinating fossils on loan from Yunnan University in Chengjiang, China, and selected specimens from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History's own collection, First Animals tells the story of these extraordinary evolutionary events and explores how researchers can use fossil evidence to reveal more about our earliest origins.
Oxford University Museum
of Natural History
+44 (0)1865 272 950
(www.oumnh.ox.ac.uk)
Until 24 February 2020.

OXFORD

Significant historical maps, maps of imaginary worlds, and maps by contemporary artists, Grayson Perry and Layla Curtis, have been brought together in a celebration of cartographic creation, which includes fine examples from the Bodleian's own outstanding collection of more than 1.5 million maps. This exhibition explores the ways that maps – made out of many different media including tapestry and sticks of wood – can be used, whether to administer cities, deceive attackers, draw national boundaries, or show the way to religious salvation. Highlights include: the late 14th-century Gough Map, the earliest surviving map of a recognisable Great Britain; a Tibetan Buddhist thangka (above) showing the Wheel of Life with the worlds of gods, demons and men, all held in the claws of all-devouring Time; and al-Idr?s?'s beautiful world map, of 1154, which makes use of Islamic cosmology and geography.
Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries
+44 (0)1865 277094
(www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk)
Until 8 March 2020.

OXFORD
Thinking 3D: From Leonardo to the Present

The challenge of capturing the three-dimensional on the two-dimensional surface of a page is one that has faced both artists and scientists. This is one of many shows that are being held to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, and it looks at how people have approached this challenge over the past five centuries. Drawings by Leonardo are on show, as well as the first printed illustration of a many-sided icosidodecahedron from the Divina Proportione, 1509, the only book that he illustrated. The exhibition charts how new technologies, such as the printing press, photography, stereoscopy and 3-D modelling, have helped develop ideas in anatomy, architecture, astronomy and geometry. Other highlights include anatomical books with flaps and pop-up elements, Galileo's illustrations on the moon based on his observations through a telescope in 1609, and the first geological map of Mars, made using data from NASA's 1971–72 Mariner 9 mission.
Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries
+44 (0)1865 277094
(www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk)
Until February 2020.

WAKEFIELD
Bill Brandt/ Henry Moore

Exploring the careers of, and many connections between, the photographer Bill Brandt (1904–83) and sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986) this show brings together a range of works by both artists that reflect their interests in similar subjects. It also examines the relationship between 2D images and 3D objects in their work. The artworks reveal how both Brandt and Moore focused on ordinary people, labour, and the home, up to and during the Second World War, but then later turned to the open landscape and nature. Other mutual interests include rock formations, geology and megalithic sites, such as Stonehenge, which is featured both in Brandt's photographs and Moore's lithographs. The exhibition is organised in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA, where it will be on show from 25 June–13 September 2020. It will then return to Britain and be displayed at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich from 22 November 2020–28 February 2021.
The Hepworth Wakefield
+44 (0)1924 247360
(hepworthwakefield.org)
From 7 February to 31 May 2020.

UNITED STATES

DALLAS, Texas
Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind

In 2013, the Rising Star Cave System, a deep and narrow cave complex near Johannesburg in South Africa, yielded a remarkable discovery. Hominin fossils were carefully excavated from the cave and, in 2015, were described as a new species, Homo naledi, whose skeletal hand-boness (above) are on show. Some of the bones, along with those of the recently discovered Australopithecus sediba, are on loan to the Perot Museum, offering a rare chance for them to be seen in North America. The exhibition, which is organised in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand (the custodians of the fossils) and the National Geographic Society, tells the story of the discoveries of these two ancient human relatives, and also features a simulated excavation site for visitors to try, and a glass-encased lab, making the work of visiting researchers visible.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
+1 214-428-5555
(origins.perotmuseum.org)
Until 22 March 2020.

LOS ANGELES, California
Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art

As early as the 5th century AD, European Christian theologians wrote that one of the Magi (later called Balthazar) who visited the newborn Christ Child in Bethlehem came from Africa, and in some early medieval texts, Balthazar is described as having a dark complexion, but it took centuries for the king to be pictured as a black African in European visual arts. One early example, The Magi Approaching Herod, dating from circa 1190–1200, shows Balthazar as dark-skinned (left). This exhibition examines other 15th-century images of Balthazar in stunning manuscripts and in paintings, by artists such as Mantegna and Rubens, and places them in the context of Europe's colonial ambitions in Africa and brutal enslavement of non-Christian black Africans, at a time when
the Holy See in Rome welcomed delegations from Coptic Egypt and the kingdom of Ethiopia.
Getty Center
+1 310-440-7300
(getty.edu)
Until 16 February 2020.

LOS ANGELES, California
Michelangelo: Mind of the Master

One of the most talented draughtsmen of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo employed drawing as a vital part
of his creative process and used it to particularly great effect in his expression of the human form. Although the artist burned large quantities of his drawings, quite a number – such the pen and brown ink Study of a Mourning Woman, circa 1500–1505 (above) still survive. The Teylers Museum in Haarlem has held a collection of these drawings since 1791; they come from the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626–89), who abdicated the throne and moved to Rome. Exquisite drawings loaned from this collection form the centrepiece of this exhibition, which is organised by the Cleveland Museum of Art (where it is on view until 5 January) and the J Paul Getty Museum in conjunction with the Teylers Museum. The drawings on display reflect Michelangelo's range as a painter, sculptor and architect and include designs for some of his most famous projects, such as the Sistine Chapel, the cupola
of Saint Peter's basilica, and the Medici Chapel tombs.
Getty Center
+1 310-440-7300
(getty.edu)
From 25 February to 7 June 2020.

LOS ANGELES, California
Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq

The kings of ancient Assyria, based in northern Mesopotamia (in modern-day Iraq), ruled over a vast empire between the 9th and the 7th centuries BC that at its height stretched from Egypt and Turkey to Iran. They liked to decorate their palaces with powerful relief sculptures, reflecting their might through detailed depictions of royal lion hunts (above) and brutal attacks on cities. On loan from the British Museum, the reliefs also illustrate many aspects of Assyrian court life, such as banqueting, rituals and mythology, as seen in the figures of winged bulls and guardian spirits. Many of these extraordinary Assyrian reliefs left in situ in Iraq were destroyed by Daesh terrorists in recent years, making the surviving works elsewhere all the more important.
Getty Villa
+1 310-440-7300
(getty.edu)
Until 5 September 2022.

NEW YORK, New York
Kyoto: Capital of Artistic Imagination

For more than 1000 years, Kyoto served as the capital of Japan, and through its long history at the centre of the imperial court experienced many changes in its social, political, and religious structures. These changes left their mark on the city's artistic output, as demonstrated by the lacquers, ceramics, textiles, paintings and more in this exhibition that spans from 794 (when Heian-ky?, modern-day Kyoto, became the seat of the imperial court) to 1868 (when the court moved to Tokyo) and beyond. More than 200 objects are shown in four rotations and include highlights such as ornate 14th-century armour believed to have been donated to a shrine in the city by the founder of the Ashikaga shogunate, Ashikaga Takauji.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
+1 212-535-7710
(www.metmuseum.org)
Until 26 January 2020.

SIMI VALLEY, California
Egypt's Lost Cities

Marvellous finds from the drowned Ancient Egyptian cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus are on tour across the USA. More than 250 remarkably well-preserved objects, recovered from beneath the waves of Aboukir Bay by Frank Goddio and his team, offer an extraordinary insight into these two once thriving port-cities on the Egyptian Delta, lost to the sea. The exhibition uses exquisite metalwork, gold jewellery and vast statues, such as the stately black stone queen, who is possibly Cleopatra III (left) and stelae, to shed light on the lost cities, their religion and power.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
+1 805-522-2977
(www.reaganfoundation.org)
Until 12 April 2020.


WASHINGTON DC
Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece

A splendid gilded wooden sculpture, on loan from the National Museum of Korea, puts the spotlight on image consecration in this exhibition. Carved in the late Goryeo period (918–1392), the sculpture is of Gwaneum, the Bodhisattva of compassion and the most popular deity in Korean Buddhism. It was first installed in its place of worship in the 13th century with a consecration ceremony during which dedicatory materials – sacred texts and symbolic seeds and jewels – were sealed in the hollow sculpture to transform it into a living body. Recent analysis by the National Museum of Korea has found that the work is the oldest surviving gilded wood sculpture in an informal pose from Korea, and provides further information about its hidden contents and the ritual
of image consecration.
Freer|Sackler
+1 202-633-1000
(freersackler.si.edu)
Until 22 March 2020.

WASHINGTON DC
Hokusai: Mad about Painting

Perhaps Japan's most celebrated artist, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) started sketching at the age of six and produced thousands of works over the course of his long life. He was critical of anything he created before the age of 70 and hoped to live to be 110, when he believed he would truly master painting. Despite not reaching this age, Hokusai's masterpieces, such as Lute and White Snake of Benten, 1847 (left), show exceptional handling of his materials and subjects, and have earned him enduring worldwide fame. This year-long presentation of 120 works by the artist, who described himself as a 'man mad about painting' is on view in two rotations and includes folding screens, hanging scrolls, paintings, and his preparatory drawings for woodblock prints.
Freer|Sackler
+1 202-633-1000
(freersackler.si.edu)
Until 8 November 2020.


WASHINGTON DC
Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece

A splendid gilded wooden sculpture, on loan from the National Museum of Korea, puts the spotlight on image consecration. Carved during the late Goryeo period (AD 918 –1392), Gwaneum (above) is the Bodhisattva of compassion – the most popular deity in Korean Buddhism. It was first installed in its place of worship during the 13th century with a consecration ceremony during which dedicatory materials – sacred texts, symbolic seeds and jewels – were sealed inside the hollow sculpture to transform it into a living body. Recent analysis by the National Museum of Korea has found that it is the oldest surviving gilded wood sculpture in an informal pose from Korea, and gives information about its hidden contents and the rituals of image consecration.
Freer|Sackler
+1 202 633 1000
(freersackler.si.edu)
Until 22 March 2020.

WASHINGTON DC
Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain

While he was a young man, the Spanish Renaissance artist Alonso Berruguete (circa 1488–1561) spent at least a decade in Italy This had a great influence on the dramatic and expressive sculpture he later created when he returned to Spain. For this, the first exhibition devoted to the artist outside his homeland, Berruguete's best-known works, his painted and gilded sculptures, take centre stage, but close attention is also paid to his skill as a draftsman and a painter, seen, for example, in Salome, (above), which he painted in Italy circa 1514–1517.
National Gallery of Art
+1 202 737-4215
(nga.gov)
Until 17 February 2020.

BELGIUM
LIEGE
Tutankhamun

Discover the life, death and times of Tutankhamun in this exhibition by Europa Expo, which aims to present an engaging narrative experience of daily life in 18th-Dynasty Egypt as well as showing us the glories of the pharaoh's sumptuous tomb. Many archaeological artefacts are on display, but the exhibition also presents accurate reproductions of Tutankhamun's tomb made in the workshops of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, and a reproduction of the workshop of Thutmose, the official sculptor of Akhenaton (Tutankhamun's father) and the creator of the celebrated bust of the incomparable Nefertiti.
Gare Liège-Guillemins
+32 (0) 4 224 49 38
(www.europaexpo.be)
Until 31 May 2020.

GHENT
Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution

Dating from circa 1433–35, The Ghent Altarpiece, a vast polyptych usually inside the city's St Bavo's cathedral, is the most famous work of great Flemish painter Jan van Eyck (circa 1390–1441). In recent years, some of its panels have been undergoing conservation work at the MSK (Museum of Fine Arts) and now the eight restored exterior panels (above) will take centre stage in an exhibition celebrating Van Eyck's magnificent work and his powers of observation. As well as the famous altarpiece, other works by the great painter (who was one of the first to use oil paint) including The Annunciation Diptych, which showcases his highly skilled use of grisaille, are on view and shown with works by his contemporaries.
Museum voor Schone Kunsten
+32 (0)9 323 67 00
(mskgent.be)
From 1 February to 30 April 2020.

CANADA


MONTREAL
Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives

Developments in X-rays, CT (computerised tomography) scanning, and high-resolution 3D-imaging techniques have allowed researchers to study delicate ancient Egyptian mummies in non-invasive ways without removing any of their wrappings. At the British Museum, these analyses have revealed details of the lives and deaths of six people who lived along the Nile between 900 BC and 180 AD, shedding light on their age, beliefs, and diseases. These six mummies, including a Roman mummy of a child in a gilded case (above) dating from circa AD 40–60, and their stories are explored in this touring exhibition, which is making its North American premiere in Montreal.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
+1 514-285-2000
(mbam.qc.ca)
Until 2 February 2020.

DENMARK
COPENHAGEN
Tacita Dean: Antigone

The first in a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Glyptotek showcases Tacita Dean and her video work Antigone from 2018. This haunting dream-like film takes its title from the name of the daughter of Oedipus and one of the plays by the ancient Greek tragedian, Sophocles, but it is also the name of Tacita Dean's older sister. It is a personal work that takes inspiration from the gap between Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus in Sophocles' trilogy of Theban plays, and also features a poem by the Canadian poet and Classicist Anne Carson called TV Men: Antigone (Scripts 1 and 2).
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
+45 33 41 81 41
(glyptoteket.com)
Until 23 February 2020.

COPENHAGEN
The Road to Palmyra

At the Efqa Spring in the midst of the Syrian Desert, the ancient city of Palmyra was once a thriving community. Now, sadly, it is more widely known because of the appalling destruction of is buildings and artefacts by
Daesh. An oasis city, halfway between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, it was once a multicultural centre, a place for exchange and trade on the eastern fringes of the Roman Empire. The ancient city's most famous artefacts are its sculpted tomb portraits, such as one of a grand lady decked out in jewellery known as The Beauty of Palmyra. More than 100 of the Palmyrene funerary portraits from the Glyptotek are on show with other artefacts from the Roman Empire, 19th-century photographs, and paintings of the site, providing a wide-ranging view of this alluring city's history.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
+45 33 41 81 41
(glyptoteket.com)
Until 1 March 2020.

FRANCE

LENS
Poland: Painting the Soul of a Nation

On 3 September 1919, France and Poland signed an agreement 'relating to emigration and immigration', which led to the arrival of large numbers of Polish workers in France, particularly in the mining region in the north. To celebrate this centenary, the Musée du Louvre -Lens in northern France, the National Museum of Warsaw and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, are presenting a show of 19th-century Polish art, with many paintings on loan from Polish National Museum. Most of the works date from 1840 to 1918, when Poland was divided between the Russian empire, the Austrian empire and the kingdom of Prussia. Artists like Jan Matejko, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Brandt, Józef Che?mo?ski, Olga Bozna?ska present a vision of Polish identity, drawing on the country's history, landscape and rural living.
Louvre Lens
+33 3 21 18 62 62
(louvrelens.fr)
Until 20 January 2020.


PARIS
The Advent of the Artist

Tracing how individual artists came to be widely recognised rather than being anonymous craftspeople, the latest exhibition in the Louvre's Petite Galerie offers an intriguing exploration of the status of the artist over time and also of the relationship between the visual arts and the written word. With works dating from Antiquity, such
as a fragment of Ancient Greek pottery signed 'Nicosthènes' (above ), to the 19th century, visitors will see how artworks carry signatures or inscriptions naming their makers, how artists portrayed themselves, how literary works described artists as creative geniuses, and how the Academy and Salons helped artists to gain recognition, commissions
and critical acclaim.
Louvre
+33 (0)1 40 20 53 17
(louvre.fr)
Until 29 June 2020.


PARIS
Leonardo da Vinci

It was in France that Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago and to mark this anniversary, the Louvre has brought together paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculptures, and objets d'art for a major retrospective of the artist's career. Special attention is paid to Leonardo's paintings in the Louvre's own collection, as the exhibition sets out to show how important he considered painting to be and, with recent scientific examinations and conservation treatment of Saint Anne, Saint John the Baptist and La Belle Ferronnière (Portrait d'une dame de la cour de Milan) (above) give us a clearer view
of his technique.
Louvre
+33 (0)1 40 20 53 17
(louvre.fr)
Until 24 February 2020.

PARIS
The Alana Collection: Masterpieces of Italian Painting

Works such as Lippi's Saint Ubald et saint Frediano, 1496 (above) are in the Alana Collection, which was built up by Alvaro Saieh and Ana Guzmán and is currently housed in the USA. It has never been publicly exhibited, but it holds an impressive set of Italian works, from 13th-century paintings to Caravaggesque compositions. Paintings, sculptures, and objets d'art – including works by Fra Angelico, Lippi, Bellini, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Orazio Gentileschi – are on loan to the Musée Jacquemart-André, where they provide an ample overview of the riches of the private collection.
Musée Jacquemart-André
+33 1 45 62 11 59
(www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com)
From 13 September to
20 January 2020.

GERMANY

BERLIN
Berlin's Largest Excavation. Research Area Biesdorf

Between 1999 and 2014, archaeologists excavated 22 hectares of land in Biesdorf, Berlin and uncovered evidence of 10,000 years of settlement in the district along the small river Wuhle, including 84 wells and a prehistoric deer mask (see other examples n pages 42 to 47). This exhibition presents some of their finds while delving into the ways archaeologists carry out their investigations. There will even be the chance to watch live excavations carried out by students from the Free University Berlin working on blocks of earth recovered from the site during fieldwork.
Neues Museum
+49 30 266 42 42 42
(www.smb.museum/en/museums-institutions/neues-museum/home.html)
Until 19 April 2020.


BERLIN
Strong Figures: Greek Portraits from Antiquity

Greek portraits of specific, real individuals have had a profound impact on Western art history, influencing traditions of portraiture today. These ancient portraits did not have to be true to life, and they often carried inscriptions identifying their subjects, who appear according to cultural types, with their age, status and affiliation. Marble portrait busts of poets, philosophers, kings and queens, such as Portrait of Queen Berenice II of Egypt who reigned in 246-221 BC (above), and figures of state are on view with reliefs, vases paintings (including a unique Attic painting of the poet Sappho), and other artefacts, which cast light on the tension between socials ideals and the portrayal of real figures.
Altes Museum
+49 30 266424242
(www.smb.museum)
Until 2 February 2020.


WEIMAR
The Bauhaus comes from Weimar

As the art world celebrates 100 years of the Bauhaus, a new museum devoted to Walter Gropius' influential art and design school opens its doors in its home-town of Weimar. This permanent exhibition draws on a collection of Bauhaus works begun by Gropius in the 1920s with pieces selected from 13,000 objects that trace the development of the school and invite the visitor to consider the question Gropius put: 'How do we want to live together?' Works include a slatted chair by Marcel Breuer, furniture by Mies van der Rohe, and Dragonjar (above) by the ceramicist Wilhelm Löber's (1903–81).
Bauhaus Museum Weimar
+49 3643 545400
(www.klassik-stiftung.de/bauhaus-museum-weimar/)
Ongoing.

ITALY

MILAN
Canova and Thorvaldsen: The birth of modern sculpture

The great Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757–1822) and his Danish contemporary Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844) were two leading, and competing, lights of Neoclassical art. Both men worked in Rome and both depicted the same subjects from Classical mythology, including Hebe, the Three Graces, Venus, and Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. Also explored in this exhibition is how Canova and Thorvaldsen, whose Hebe (above) is shown, made use of technical innovations, such as preparatory plaster models, to allow them to pursue their own ideas, without the constraints of commissions and more costly materials, like bronze and marble.
Gallerie d'Italia
+39 800 167619
(gallerieditalia.com)
Until 15 March 2020.

NETHERLANDS

AMSTERDAM
Jewels! Glittering at the Russian Court

For the second jubilee exhibition celebrating 10 years of the Hermitage's Amsterdam outpost, a dazzling array
of jewels have left St Petersburg. These include stunning work by Cartier, Lalique, Tiffany and Fabergé and a fabulous late 18th–early 19th-century gold and silver watch, decorated with enamel, glass, pearls, by Léonard Bordier (below left). There are also portraits of Catherine the Great and other royal family members, ball-gowns, and imperial costumes that reflect the glittering world of Russian high society over two centuries.
Hermitage Amsterdam
+31 20 530 8755
(hermitage.nl)
From 14 September to
15 March 2020.

DELFT
Pieter de Hooch in Deft: From the shadow of Vermeer

Working in the 17th-century, the Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch is often rather overshadowed by his contemporary Vermeer. This exhibition, the first retrospective in the Netherlands devoted to de Hooch centres on the paintings featuring splendid interiors and courtyards he produced in Delft between circa 1652 and 1660, Many on loan from leading European and American collections. They include The Mother, 1661–1663 (above).
Museum Prinsenhof Delft
+31 15 260 2358
(www.prinsenhof-delft.nl)
From 11 October to
16 February 2020.

 

LEIDEN
Cyprus: A Dynamic Island

The history of the island of Cyprus stretches back more than 12,000 years. Its location means that it has been a hotbed for cultural exchange and trade between countries of the eastern and western Mediterranean. Bearing witness to Cyprus' rich history and diverse influences are a fabulous array of artefacts, 300 of which are on loan from the national collections of Cyprus. They include: gold jewellery, imported from Phoenicia, exquisitely decorated pottery, a royal throne inlaid with silver, and terracotta portraits, such as one of a woman, dating from 625–600 BC (below). Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
+31 71 516 3163
(rmo.nl)
Until 15 March 2020.

QATAR

DOHA
Set in Stone: Gems and Jewels from Royal Indian Courts

Celebrating the 2019 Qatar-India Year of Culture, this exhibition presents a range of gems and jewellery from India in the Qatar Museums' collections. Special attention is paid to the pearl and gold trade between Qatar and India, and the opulent pieces from the Mughal Empire (1526–1858), such as a 17th-century jewelled falcon (above), which probably adorned the top of a throne and amply demonstrates the wealth and talented craftsmanship of the Mughal court.
Museum of Islamic Art
+974 4422 4444
(www.mia.org.qa)
Until 18 January 2020.

EVENTS

UNITED KINGDOM

LONDON
Gresham College Lectures
George IV: Radical or Reactionary?
Stella Tillyard
Barnard's Inn Hall, 20 January, 6pm

How to Survive a Massacre in Europe's Wars of Religion
Alec Ryrie
Museum of London, 5 February, 6pm

Making New Plants: A History
Jim Endersby
Barnard's Inn Hall, 10 February, 6pm

Thomas Becket and London
Caroline Barron
Mercers' Hall, 25 February, 6pm (tickets for this lecture are available at: gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/becket-london)

Engineering: Archimedes of Syracuse
Edith Hall
Barnard's Inn Hall, 5 March, 1pm

The Art of Maths
Chris Budd
Museum of London, 10 March, 1pm

Peterloo: From Page to Screen and Back Again
Jacqueline Riding
Museum of London, 16 March, 6pm

Charles II: The Court in Exile
Simon Thurley
Museum of London, 18 March, 6pm

Giotto and the Early Italian Renaissance
Valerie Shrimplin
Barnard's Inn Hall, 24 March, 7pm

These hour-long lectures are free and most are on a first-come, first-served basis but check on the website before going.
www.gresham.ac.uk/attend

 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

GALWAY
Galway 2020: European Capital of Culture

In 2020, Galway takes up the mantle as Europe's Capital of Culture, with a wide-ranging programme of events including Galway 2020 Opening Ceremony. This is a free open-air celebration produced by Wonder Works with Galway City and County Community Cast.
1–8 February 2020

Wild Atlantic Women

Margaret Atwood discusses her career, The Handmaid's Tale as a symbol of women's struggle against oppression, and her latest book, The Testaments. Presented by Galway 2020 in association with Galway Public Libraries.
8 March 2020

Macnas: Gilgamesh

Galway storytellers Macnas present a dramatic new interpretation of the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, written by playwright Marina Carr.
March, April, June 2020


Odyssey

On the beaches of Galway (above), Arts Over Borders (co-produced with Galway 2020) will stage a series of readings of Homer's Odyssey, using Emily Wilson's English translation accompanied by live music.
August 2020

Book tickets for all these events on:

galway2020.ie/en/programme/

 

You may also like:

Under the volcano - From Etna and Krakatoa to a tale of Gothic horror

Theresa Thompson investigates the history of a very hot subject, which can have cataclysmic results, at a new exhibition in Oxford

Memories of Antiquity - the ancient world through medieval eyes

Dominic Green gives us a preview of an exhibition about to open at the Getty Center in Los Angeles that shows us how the ancient world was viewed through medieval eyes.