Tired of all the December festivities already? Why not visit some of the latest art exhibitions? This month’s exhibitions are particularly diverse ─ from postmodern sculptures to medieval art.

Art and Nature in the Middle Ages

4 Dec – 19 Mar 2017

Dallas Museum of Art, US

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La Vie Seigneuriale: Scene Galante, c.1500 (tapestry), French School, (16th century) / Musee National du Moyen Age et des Thermes de Cluny, Paris 

With works spanning from the 12th to early 16th centuries, this exhibition explores the diverse representations of nature in European medieval art.

Art and Nature in the Middle Ages presents over 100 religious and secular art works, demonstrating the spiritual and literal bond between humans, plants and animals at this time. They appear in a variety of media, from manuscripts and tapestries to stained glass windows. The featured works have rarely been on display in the US and reflect the wide range of styles, techniques, and iconography present throughout the middle ages.

The exhibition features works from the Musée National du Moyen Âge in Paris.

From the Ancient to the New Silk Road

6 Dec – 26 Feb 2017

Palazzo del Quirinale, Italy

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Ms Esp 20 panel 4, Merchants travelling to Cathay, China, following in Marco Polo’s footsteps, detail showing the family of Marco Polo traveling by camel caravan, from Catalan Atlas published for Charles V of France, c.1375 (tempera on vellum) , Cresques, Abraham (1325-87) & Cresques, Jehuda (1360-1410) (attr. to) / Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France

Along the ancient Silk Road was a network of trade routes that were once central to cultural interaction between the East and West ─ from China to the Mediterranean Sea. Missionaries of various faiths: Christians, Buddhists and Confucians, followed the tracks of the Silk Road to talk and spread tolerance.

From the Ancient to the New Silk Road illustrates the long history of relations between China and the West, and in particular Italy. It shows 80 ancient Chinese masterpieces from the most important European museums including the British Museum, the Musée du Louvre, the Oriental Art Museum in Turin and the Vatican Museums.

A dozen contemporary works from China and produced by prominent contemporary Chinese artists will also be on display.

Australia’s Impressionists

7 Dec – 26 Mar 2017

The National Gallery, UK

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Sandridge, 1888 (oil on wood panel), Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) / National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

This exhibition showcases four innovative Australian Impressionist artists, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, and John Russell.

Australia’s Impressionists explores impressionism in an Australian context – that which is closely related to European impression yet fundamentally distinct. Roberts, Streeton and Conder’s works provide an all-encompassing guide to Australia’s national identity ─ from city to bushland. In contrast, Russell who was a highly successful Impressionist artist, did not fully embody the Australian movement. As he spent the majority of his career in France and socialised with Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse and Rodin, he is commonly referred to as ‘Australia’s Lost Impressionist’.

Many paintings in the exhibition have never been seen in the UK.

Anthony Caro: Sculpture Laid Bare

10 Dec – 21 May 2017

Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

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Emma Books (metal), Anthony Caro (1924-2013) / Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K.

In honour of the late Sir Anthony Caro OM CBE, the Art Gallery of Ontario is hosting an exhibition about the abstract sculptor’s works.

Throughout his career, the British sculptor played a monumental role in transforming the medium of sculpture. Through his large, abstract and brightly painted sculptures made out of prefabricated steel and aluminium elements that he installed directly on the ground, he revolutionised 20th century sculpture.

Anthony Caro: Sculpture Laid Bare showcases four of Caro’s late works. This exhibition marks the first appearance of these pieces in North America.

From Napoleon’s Dream to Canova

16 Dec – 12 Mar 2017

The Universal Museum, Italy

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Fortune being restrained by Love, 1623, by Guido Reni (1575-1642), oil on canvas / De Agostini Picture Library / G. Nimatallah

From Napoleon’s Dream to Canova tells the story of the recovery of hundreds of Italian masterpieces from France after the fall of Napoleon.

From 1796 to 1814, the French military confiscated more than 500 Italian paintings and sculptures, including works from Perugino, Titian and Guido Reni. These paintings were then hosted in well-known French museums such as Musée du Louvre. 2016 marks the 200 year anniversary of the return of those paintings. As the works of art began to return home, Italy was confronted with the problem of where to put them all. With a number of paintings in state ownership and even stored in improvised warehouses, the public value of art heritage became something of a talking point. This eventually led to the foundation of some of Italy’s leading cultural institutions and museums such as the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice and the Pinacoteca in Bologna.

Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language

17 Dec – 25 Jun 2017

Art Institute Chicago, US

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A DAR (Dining and Desk Chair), designed by Charles Eames (1907-70) and Ray Eames (1912-88), 1953 (moulded fibreglass and metal rod), Eames, Charles (1907-80) and Ray (1912-88) / Private Collection / Photo © Bonhams, London, UK

Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language explores the Art Institute’s collection as three thought-provoking vignettes: the modern chair, the emergence of postmodern design and contemporary identity systems in graphic design.

The first section is devoted to the modern chair and looks at one of the most popular designs with examples by American designers Charles and Ray Eames, architect Rudolph Schindler, as well as the French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand. The exhibition shows the gradual fusion of form and technology throughout the 20th century.

Whilst the second section studies pieces by the Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture company known for its postmodern furniture and the architectural firm Coop Himmelblau.

The final section explores the diversity of contemporary graphic identity systems developed form branding and promotional purposes within commercial sectors.

John Gibson RA
A British Sculptor in Rome

Until 18 Dec 2016

Royal Academy of Arts, UK

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Narcissus, c.1829 (marble), John Gibson (1790-1866) / Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Gibson‘s death, the Royal Academy of Arts have an exhibition showcasing more than 30 of the sculptor’s works. The neoclassical sculptor was elected a Royal Academician in 1836, and left the contents of his studio to the Royal Academy.

The Welshman studied in Rome, learning his craft under the famous neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova. He had achieved fame as a sculptor and artist by the time he returned to the UK in 1844, and produced several portraits of Queen Victoria.

This is the first exhibition to focus solely on John Gibson’s work and includes the marble sculpture Narcissus, plaster reliefs such as The Meeting of Hero and Leander and  many of his drawings.

The Edwardians

Until 31 Dec 2016

Manchester Art Gallery, UK

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Tree in Winter, 1916 (oil on canvas), Rothenstein, William (1872-1945) / Manchester Art Gallery, UK / Bridgeman Images

Curated as a complementary display to Vogue 100 and Fashion & Freedom, The Edwardians illustrates life in the 1900’s: the glamorous city in juxtaposition with the evocative landscape.

Works from Sir William Rothenstein, Augustus Edwin John and William Nicholson demonstrate themes of nostalgia and style in the 1900’s and illustrate the Edwardian era as a pivotal point between the Victorian and the Modern periods.

Many of these art works have not been on display for decades.

Find out More

Top Art Exhibitions: Nov 2016

Top Art Exhibitions: Oct 2016