Europe, One Masterpiece at a Time

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It’s August. France and Italy beckon, and so do some blockbuster art shows. Wave to us, metaphorically at least, from the vaporetto.


“Paris Is Well Worth a Mass”

Galleria degli Uffizi

6 Piazzale degli Uffizi, Florence

Through Nov. 2

The Uffizi holds the world’s largest collection of Renaissance painting and also its most popular. “Paris Is Well Worth a Mass” celebrates the life of King Henry IV of France, 400 years after his assassination, with canvases of the king’s triumphs commissioned by the Medici family to sit on the walls of the church that hosted his funeral. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Medicis, including a Peter Paul Rubens drawing of Maria de Medici and several paintings and etchings.


“Miró and Jan Steen”


Jan Luijkenstraat 1, Amsterdam

Through Sept. 13

This is at least Joan Miró’s second visit to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum-the Surrealist painter traveled to view its collection of 17th-century art in 1928. There he saw the works of Jan Steen, a master of Dutch golden-age portraiture, and, historians say, took home with him a postcard of a Steen composition. Under this influence, Miró painted “The Dutch Interiors,” a series of paintings that to many critics signifies the early stages of his career as a surrealist. For the first time here, the paintings and drawings of Steen and Miró go on view together, teasing out the effect of the Old Master on the influential Modernist.


Centre Pompidou

Place Georges Pompidou, Paris

Through Feb. 21

The inside-out museum, whose escalators wind brightly around its exterior, is currently displaying the strongest works of the 20th- and 21st-century female artists in its collections. The women exhibited in this aesthetic “room of one’s own” show include many of the world’s most historically significant artists from Frida Kahlo and Tracy Emin to Marina Abramovic and Diane Arbus. One room on the fourth floor considers these artists’ perception of the figure through life drawing, deconstructing the perception and objectification of the female body.

“Modern Times”

Neue Nationalgalerie

50 Potsdamer Straße, Berlin


As one of the six museums that make up the National Museum of Berlin, the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie holds the city’s Modern art collection, one of the biggest in Europe. The turn of the century through 1945 is the focus of this exhibition, which brings together Expressionist, Dada, Bauhuas and Surrealist works by predominantly German artists, in the city that has become a creative mecca over the past decade. Works by Edvard Munch, Paul Klee and Oskar Kokoschka compete with Anselm Kiefer and Wassily Kandinsky tableaux.


“Poetry and Dream”

Tate Modern

Bankside, London SE1


On the third level of the converted power station that now houses the Tate Modern, “Poetry and Dream” sweeps through the biggest names in Modern and contemporary art, taking in, among others, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Beuys, Kurt Schwitters, Joan Miró and Francis Bacon. The exhibit takes a chronological approach to the development of contemporary art, allowing you to walk through early Modern art into post-Surrealism-which features a startling, almost Cubist Jackson Pollock painting-culminating in a room filled with the works of Modern installationist Mona Hatoum.


Virgin of the Rocks

The National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, London


Last month, Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century masterpiece Virgin of the Rocks was put back on public view after a painstaking 18 months of cleaning and restoration. Stripped away: a yellowing layer of varnish that had been added nearly 70 years ago. The goal of an international team of scientists and artists was to bring the painting “closer to the artist’s original intention,” according to the museum. The restoration has led researchers to conclude that the entire painting, not just the central figures (as previously believed) was painted by the master. 


“The Moderna
Exhibition 2010″

Moderna Museet

Exercisplan 4, 111 49, Stockholm

Through Jan. 9

The follow-up to the museum’s 2006 Modern art exhibit is unified by the artworks’ relation to Sweden, rather than by any thematic impulse. The curators highlight the differences between contemporary Swedish artists as well as the similarities that create a national artistic identity. The artists whose work is exhibited are young, with many born in the 1970s and 1980s and others engaged in partnerships less than a decade old. The museum also has a brilliant permanent collection with works by Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg and Henri Matisse.


Europe, One Masterpiece at a Time