Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969, Francis Bacon / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images

Top Art Exhibitions: May 2016

Enjoy the last month of Spring with a hand-picked selection of the best art and historical exhibitions to see in Europe and Asia:

Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau Atmosphere

Palazzo Ducale, Venice

30 Apr – 18 Sep

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The Arts: Dance, 1898 (colour litho), Alphonse Marie Mucha / Mucha Trust / Bridgeman Images

After its success in Milan, the exhibition arrives in Venice with 150 beautiful works by the Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative illustrator. Throughout his career Alphonse Mucha produced numerous advertisements, posters and designs in a distinct style, often featuring gorgeous women in Neo-classical robes, surrounded by lush flowers and an array of pastel colours.

Mucha’s work still enjoys great popularity today, as well as periodic revivals by illustrators and artists. This was particularly the case in the 1960s; his influence can be clearly seen in the psychedelic posters of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat.

 

Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place

Hong Kong Heritage Museum

4 May – 11 July

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Argenteuil, c.1872-5 (oil on canvas) (see also 287548), Claude  Monet / Musee de l’Orangerie, Paris, France / Bridgeman Images

The Impressionist master Claude Monet is undoubtedly one of the greatest landscape artists in the history of Western art. For almost 70 years he tirelessly depicted the essence of different landscapes. This exhibition, featuring some of Monet’s most emblematic artworks, presents the spirit of place and the artist’s legacy through the subtle changes captured over hours, days and seasons.

In the education gallery of the exhibition, reconstructed scenes will also be set up to resemble various spots in Monet’s home, studio and garden, giving visitors the opportunity to see the connection between Monet’s life and works from various perspectives.

 

Missoni Art Colour

Fashion and Textile Museum, London

6 May – 4 Sep

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Ensemble by Missoni, 1974 (wool) / Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council / Gift of Missoni / Bridgeman Images

Missoni Art Colour showcases over 60 years of fashion alongside paintings by leading 20th century European artists, as well as previously unseen textile studies and paintings by Ottavio Missoni. The personal artwork of Missoni is mixed with modernist masterpieces, including the work of Sonia Delaunay, Lucio Fontana and Gino Severini, that have influenced Ottavio and Rosita in the development of their signature graphic style.

Missoni Home also has a new collection, Anemone’s Dream, that uses an ‘aristocratic’ version of the flower for colourful textile designs and furnishings.

 

Charles Gleyre: The Reformed Romantic

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

10 May – 11 Sep

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Lost Illusions, or Evening, before 1843 (oil on canvas), Charles Gleyre / Louvre, Paris, France / Bridgeman Images

France has never before devoted a solo exhibition to Swiss artist Charles Gleyre, yet he was a major figure in academy painting in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. Research into the history of art now draws attention to the important role played by his studio, which gave us artists like Jean-Léon Gérôme,  Claude Monet and Fréderic Bazille.

Scholars have also uncovered fascinating contradictions between Charles Gleyre as an artist and his work; he was far from the cold, conventional character that his subject matter and perfect figures project.

Painting with Light

Tate Britain, London

11 May – 25 Sep 

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Lady Lilith, 1868, Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti / Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, USA / Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial / Bridgeman Images

Tate Britain presents the first major exhibition to celebrate the spirited conversation between early photography and British paintings. Spanning 75 years across the Victorian and Edwardian ages, it brings the two mediums together through a comprehensive display of Aesthetic, Pre-Raphaelite and British impressionist works.

Stunning images by John Everett MillaisDante Gabriel RossettiJohn Singer SargentJohn William Waterhouse and others will be shown for the first time alongside ravishing photographs by pivotal early photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron.

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms

Tate Liverpool

18 May – 18 Sep

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Francis Bacon, The French Pub, Soho, London, 1984 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert / Bridgeman Images

Don’t miss your chance to experience the largest Francis Bacon exhibition ever staged in the north of England.  Displaying more than 30 paintings, alongside a group of rarely seen drawings and documents, it is a true showcase of one of Britain’s best modern masters.

Bacon often painted a ghost-like frame or structure around the subjects of his paintings, a powerful device that skilfully draws our attention to the figures within his work, intensifying their emotional state to us the viewer. Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms examines some of the artist’s most iconic paintings with a special focus on this technique. It will be the first exhibition to explore this reoccurring motif in his work.

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds

British Museum, London

19 May – 27 Nov

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Egypt Collection / Bridgeman Footage

Two lost cities of ancient Egypt had been submerged under the sea for over a thousand years, until they were recently rediscovered. The story of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus is told for the first time in this blockbuster exhibition that aims to transform our understanding of the deep connections between the great ancient civilisations of Egypt and Greece.

Buried and preserved under the sea, the stunning objects on display range from magnificent colossal statues to intricate gold jewellery. Sacred offerings and ritual objects reveal the cult of Osiris – the god of the underworld who held the promise of eternal life. They tell stories of political power and popular belief, myth and migration, gods and kings. Journey through centuries of encounters between two celebrated cultures, meeting iconic historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Hadrian on the way.

 

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Royal Hospital Chelsea, London

24 May – 28 May

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King George and Queen Mary at the Chelsea Flower Show, 1930s, John Hill / Private Collection / The Stapleton Collection / Bridgeman Images

The Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London every year since 1913, apart from breaks during the two World Wars. It is one of Britain’s largest flower shows and remains as the most prestigious.

Bridgeman proudly represents The Royal Hospital Chelsea collection, which contains a unique array of paintings that tell the story of the home for Chelsea Pensioners over 300 years.

 

Bosch. The 5th Centenary Exhibition

Museo Del Prado, Madrid

31 May – 11 Sep

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The Garden of Earthly Delights, c.1500 (oil on panel) (detail of 3425), Hieronymus Bosch / Prado, Madrid, Spain / Bridgeman Images

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch, the Prado is holding the most exhaustive exhibition ever organised on the Dutch artist, with more than 75% of the artist’s surviving output. In addition to his existing works in the Museum’s collection, the exhibition includes exceptional loans such as The Triptych of the Temptations of Saint Anthony from the Museo de Arte Antiga in Lisbon, as well as a section on Bosch’s drawings. It is a truly unique and unrepeatable art event for your diary!

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