2020 was quite hard for the museums and galleries with many exhibitions being cancelled. However, it looks as if this year, everyone is trying to make up for it. Many European museums prepared special exhibitions this autumn and winter. Here is just a brief overview of some of the best exhibitions in European museums organised in autumn and winter 2021.

Best exhibitions in European museums in autumn and winter 2021

1/ Camille Pissarro – Kunstmuseum, Basel

September 4th 2021 – January 23rd 2022

Camille Pissarro was one of the first modern painters well known for his Impressionist paintings.

In autumn and winter 2021, Kunstmuseum Basel will host an exhibition dedicated to Pissarro and his work. The main focus will be placed on collaborations Camille Pissarro had with his contemporaries. He was a close friend and colleague with Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and many others. It’s absolutely one of the best exhibitions in European museums in autumn and winter of 2021.

TIP: If you won’t have a chance to visit Basel during the time of exhibition, be sure to check Kunstmuseum Basel’s website and join some of the online events they are organising with this expo.

2/ Dürer’s journeys – The National Gallery, London

November 20th 2021 – February 27th 2022

Artists were some of the first travellers in history and definitely some of the proper culture tourists. They would go to other countries and visit their historical monuments, famous paintings or explore the art trends among the painters living in those countries.

During his travels, Albrecht Dürer visited the Alps, the Netherlands, Italy and Venice. As an artist, he captured those countries in his travel drawings, too. This fantastic exhibition organised at the National Gallery in London follows his journey through letters, prints, drawings and paintings.

TIP: Although the National Gallery has free entrance, they are charging for their temporary exhibitions. You can get your online ticket at a link here.

3/ Slavery – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Until February 28th 2022

An extensive exhibition about slavery organised at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam closed its doors at the end of summer. However, you can still find special labels next to the artworks at the Rijksmuseum permanent collection linked to slavery in the Netherlands by the end of February 2022.

That dark part of Dutch history has been told through the stories of people rather than by the historical figures. If you’d like to read some of the history of the famous paintings from the Rijksmuseum linked to slavery, take a look here.

Read more: The best museums in Amsterdam

4/ Vermeer: On Reflection – Zwinger, Dresden

September 10th 2021 – January 2nd 2022

Only around 35 paintings by the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer survived until the present day. So, whenever there is a new discovery related to some of them, it’s a big deal in the art world. And, it’s exactly what’s happening in Dresden right now.

Vermeer’s painting ‘Girl reading a letter at an open window’ has been in the Dresden Old Masters Picture Gallery since 1742. The painting went under the throughout restoration in 2017. During it, it was discovered that an area in the background wasn’t painted by Vermeer. When that overpaint was removed, a painting showing a standing Cupid, was discovered inside the picture.

A special exhibition is organised in Dresden about the painting. It could be seen for the first time after many years in a way Vermeer initially imagined it.

5/ Botticelli – Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris

September 10th 2021 – January 24th 2022

One of the best exhibitions in European museums in autumn and winter 2021 could be seen in Paris. Musée Jacquemart-André is organising a special exhibition dedicated to one of the most famous Italian Renaissance artists – Sandro Botticelli. Around forty of his artworks that travelled from different European museums will be displayed at this exhibition.

The authors of this expo portray Sandro Botticelli as an artist, but also an entrepreneur and owner of a large art workshop. Through that, they’re also opening the questions of the artworks’ authorship during the Renaissance time in Italy. If you happen to be in Paris this autumn or winter, be sure to visit this art gem.

Read more: Best museums in Paris

6/ A room of one’s own – Waldemarsudde, Stockholm

September 11th 2021 – January 23rd 2022

An exceptional exhibition is organised during the autumn and winter of 2021 in Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. It explores female artists from the Nordic countries at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The expo focuses on how those artists made their way in, then primarily, the male world of art.

It also explores the dialogues between famous female artists from those countries, such as Julia Beck, Hanna Hirsch-Pauli, Bertha Wegmann and Helene Schjerfbeck, with their male colleagues like Edvard Munch, Ernst Josephson, Christian Krohg and Anders Zorn. The exhibition offers a great insight into the world of female artists at the turn of the centuries in the Nordic countries.

Read more: Stockholm Travel Guide

7/ Art & Nazism – Dreiländermuseum, Lörrach – Basel

August 8th 2020 – October 10th 2021

The Dreiländermuseum is home to one of the most exciting art exhibitions in European museums in autumn 2021. ‘Art & Nazism’ explores art created in Baden between 1933 and 1945.

Displayed are artworks of important artists such as Hans Adolf Bühler, Adolf Strübe, Hermann Burte, Max Laeuger and August Babberger, seen and explored in the context of the Nazi regime.

Read more: A guide to museums in Basel

8/ Nero: the man behind the myth – British Museum, London

May 27th 2021 – October 24th 2021

Nero was one of the most famous Roman emperors. He is remembered as cruel, evil and often mad. However, this extensive exhibition organised at the British Museum in London tries to dig deeper into the life and work of that Roman emperor.

By researching historical documents and material evidence, its authors are trying to answer who Nero really was. Around two hundred objects are on display at the exhibition, spanning from the street of Pompeii to the statues from the Royal Palace in Rome. If you happen to be in London this autumn, be sure to pay a visit to this fantastic exhibition.

Read more: Best museums in London

9/ Iran. 5000 years of art and culture – The James-Simon-Galerie, Berlin

October 30th 2021 – January 20th 2022

One of the best exhibitions in European museums organised in autumn and winter of 2021 is the one about Iran’s rich history, art and culture. With a few hundred exciting exhibits, its authors represent Iran as an important centre of innovations and intercultural exchange between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Five thousand years of Iranian cultural history will be presented during this extensive exhibition, with paintings and ceramics taking a particular place at it.

10/ Leonardo and the copy of Mona Lisa – Prado, Madrid

September 28th 2021 – January 23rd 2022

An exhibition organised at the Prado Museum in Madrid this autumn deals with the copies of Leonardo da Vinci’s works and his close collaborators. Its central piece is a copy of the Mona Lisa from that museum. Thoroughly researched, it offered a wide range of information on this topic.

Leonardo and the copy of Mona Lisa, new approaches to the artist’s studio practices, is the first exhibition of that kind organised in this Spanish museum.

Read more: Best museums in Europe

With so many great exhibitions happening in autumn and winter 2021, it looks like we’ll have so many fantastic art and cultural events to enjoy. Even if you won’t be able to travel to visit those museums, be sure to check their websites and social media channels and join some of their tours and lectures online.

Have you seen any of these exhibitions?

*Featured Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash