The period between Christmas and New Year provides an opportunity to catch up with the art exhibitions currently running. Here is a selection of 10 shows, 5 in Italy, 5 in other countries. For all of them, we recommend booking online before going.
Turin, until 24 March
Macchiaioli, Italian art towards modernity
The Macchiaioli were a Tuscan group of artists who wanted to renew art and take it beyond the slick realism of the Academies. Their use of dabs of paint (“macchie,” spots, which led to the name of the movement) was similar to that of the French Impressionists, and some of their paintings anticipate the themes of the French movement, with bright colour and dark shadows. This show presents over 80 works documenting the Macchiaioli’s work from the late 1850s to 1870. If you like the Impressionists you’ll find this show very interesting, in part because many of these painters are less familiar to the general public. €13.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm, closed Mondays.
Holiday opening times:
24 December 10am-2pm
25 December closed
26 December 10am-6pm
31 December 10am-2pm
1 January 2pm-6pm
6 January 10am-6pm
GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
Via Magenta 31
Tel. +39 011 0881 178, +39 011 4429 518
Milan, until 14 April 2019
A Visual Protest: The Art of Banksy
This exhibition dedicated to Banksy is the first such show in an Italian museum. The artist, probably from Bristol in the UK, possibly born in 1973 or ’74, has succeeded in keeping his identity secret even though he is without doubt one of the most famous artists in the world today. His “visual protest” takes many forms, starting from his themes, about repression, control, and war; his technique is also an implicit protest about the business aspect of art, because his works are on the street, accessible to everyone free of charge. This show comprises about 80 works, paintings, prints, objects, photographs and videos. It also documents Banksy’s musical activities, producing record and CD covers for bands such as One Cut, Blak Twang and Blur. €14.
Open Monday 2.30pm-7.30pm, other days 9.30am-7.30pm, open until 10.30pm on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Monday 24 December, 9.30am-2pm
Tuesday 25 December, 2.30pm-7.30pm
Wednesday 26 December, 9.30am-7.30pm
Monday 31 December, 9.30am-2pm
Tuesday 1 January, 2.30pm-7.30pm
Sunday 6 January, 9.30am-7.30pm
Milan, until 17 March 2019
Interest in Romanticism seems to be currently particularly intense in Italy, with several exhibitions. The show at Gallerie d’Italia offers an overview of this movement that spread across Europe in the early 19th century, with its characteristics of artistic freedom, the relationship between man and nature, and the concept of the sublime. The show includes works by the principal Italian Romantic artists, primarily Francesco Hayez, but there are also pieces by painters from other countries other such as Caspar David Friedrich, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, William Turner and many others. €10.
Open Tuesday-Saturday 9.30am-7.30pm, closes at 10.30pm on Thursdays.
24 December, open 9.30am-14.30pm
25 December closed
26 December open 9.30am-7.30pm
31 December open 9.30am-14.30pm
1 January 2.30pm-7.30pm
6 January, open 9.30am-7.30pm, admission free.
Venice, until 6 January 2019
This double show is at Palazzo Ducale and the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and it provides a fascinating portrait of Jacopo Robusti, a brilliant, ambitious and prodigiously speedy painter. His compositions have an almost cinematographic sense of narrative, and he created many original ideas, such as wisps of smoke that become angels, and the contemporaneous depiction of successive moments in a story. The section at Gallerie dell’Accademia illustrate Tintoretto’s earliest works. €13.
Appartamento del Doge
San Marco 1
Tel. +39 041 2715 911
25 December, open 11am-6.30pm
1 January, open 11am-6.30pm
6 January, open 8.30am-5.30pm
Campo della Carità
Tel. 0039 041 5222247
Open Monday 8.15am-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday 8.15am-7.15pm. Closed on 25 December and 1 January.
Florence, until 20 January 2019
Marina Abramović. The Cleaner
How do you stage a retrospective of a performance artist? Using videos, of course, but this show also features re-performances, in which some of her most famous works are brought to new life by a group of specially trained performers. For example, in Imponderabilia, staged every day, two performers play the part of Abramović and her lover Ulay, naked, facing each other at a narrow entrance passage so visitors had to pass between them to enter the museum. The show comprises over 100 works illustrating the artist’s courageous use of her own body, pushing it to the limits of pain, self-mutilation, and on occasions losing consciousness. €12.
Open every day, including holidays, 10am-8pm, Thursday open until 11pm
50123 Firenze / Florence
Tel. +39 055 2645 155
London, until 27 January 2019
Mantegna and Bellini
These two great Renaissance artists were very different, Giovanni Bellini more about warm Venetian colour, Mantegna more about composition and perspective. But they shared a lot as well, such as an incredible attention to detail. The contacts between the two artists became inevitable, because Mantegna married Giovanni Bellini’s sister. This show provides opportunities for comparison, but more than anything else it presents a rich selection of paintings. Another rare opportunity is the legendary sketchbook by Giovanni’s father Jacopo, visible at the start of the exhibition. Admission £14 Monday-Friday, £16 Saturday and Sunday.
Open every day 10am-6pm, Friday open until 9pm.
Closed on 24, 25 and 26 December, 1 January, open on all other days.
Paris, until 14 January 2019
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele
The shows at Fondation Louis Vuitton are separate, but Schiele and Basquiat are linked by the intensity and brevity of their lives. There are anniversaries for both: Schiele died in 1918, exactly a century ago; Basquiat died 30 years ago, in 1988. They were both 28 years old when they departed this life. They both had a career concentrated into less than a decade, and both were intensively productive. The section dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat comprises 120 works covering the whole of his career, from 1980 to 1988. Some works have never previously been seen in Europe. Schiele’s short career, from 1911 to when he died from Spanish influenza in 1918, is illustrated by about 100 works, drawings, gouaches and paintings.
Open until 14 January 2019, open every day except for 18 and 25 December, and 1 and 8 January. Opening times 11am-8pm, open until 9pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Madrid, until 24 February 2019
Tamara de Lempicka, Queen of Art
Another chance to catch an exhibition previously staged in other cities, dedicated to the Polish painter famous for her elegant portraits and nudes. About 200 works are shown, along with Art Deco furniture and objects that offer an interesting comparison with her stylized compositions. She visited Spain in 1932, at the height of her fame and success, and declared her love for works by El Greco and Goya. Open until 24 February, €13.
Open every day, 10am-8pm, open until 9pm on Friday and Saturday. Closed on 25 December
Palacio de Gaviria
Calle del Arenal 9
Tel. +34 902 04 42 26
Zurich, until 10 March
Oskar Kokoschka. A Retrospective.
Over 200 works by Expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), celebrated for his gestural brushwork and his pacifist stance. One of the works on show is the four-metre mural painted for his lover Alma Mahler in her house, rediscovered in 1989 below layers of paint and wallpaper, and carefully removed and restored. This is only the second time that the work has been exhibited. CHF 23.
Tel. +41 (0)44 253 84 84
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, open until 8 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Closed on 24, 25, 31 December, open on 26 December, 1 January 2019
Munich, until 13 January
Thrill of Deception, from Ancient Art to Virtual Reality
A fascinating sequence of works from ancient times to the present, in which the artist tries to trick the spectator. The simulated three-dimensional depth of Baroque church ceilings, 17th century trompe l’oeil, right through to today’s virtual reality. €12
Open every day, including Sundays and public holidays, 10am-8pm.