From celebrating the year of Jan van Eyck and Beethoven, paying homage to some modern painters like Andy Warhol, to a big art show by Marina Abramović, there’s going to be something for everyone when it comes to art this year. To make a choice of which exhibition to visit for you a bit easier, I did a bit of research and made a list with ten best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020 you shouldn’t miss.
Best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020
1/ Van Eyck: An optical revolution
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent: February 1st – April 30th 2020
After having some significant art anniversaries and exhibitions dedicated to them in 2019, the beginning of 2020 is going to be marked by one of the best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020 – Van Eyck: An optical revolution. Many events are going to be organised throughout the year to celebrate the work of one of the most famous Flemish masters, Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441). Around half of the work attributed to him is going to be on display at the exhibition, so it’s a unique chance to see most of his work at one place. The highlight of the show is definitely going to be freshly restored the Ghent Altarpiece (1432).
2/ Troy: Myth and reality
British Museum, London: November 21st 2019 – March 6th 2020
This exhibition is dedicated to one of the most exciting classical stories – the one of the Troy. Being inspired by the story that draws the attention from people all around the world for more than two millenniums, the British Museum in London explores what is a myth and what’s reality by showing classical art pieces, ancient sculptures and some of the more contemporary works. It’s without a doubt one of the best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020, so if you happen to be in London this spring, be sure to visit it.
The National Gallery, London: April 4th – July 26th 2020
Another great exhibition organised this spring in London is going to be dedicated to a successful 17th-century Italian female painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1654). Different aspects of her work are going to be presented during the exhibition. The museum is going to explore her role as a great artist, but also as a woman entrepreneur. Besides some of her very famous works, one of the highlights of the exhibition is going to be recently discovered painting ‘Self-portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria’ that’s going to be displayed in front of the public for the first time.
4/ Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
Victoria & Albert Museum, London: February 29th – June 21st 2020
With its focus on applied arts and crafts, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is going to be home to one of the most interesting European exhibitions in 2020. Celebrating one of the best known symbols of Japan, they are going to explore its social, artistic and fashion influence. More than three hundred works will be displayed at the exhibition, showcasing some very traditional pieces from Japan, to some contemporary examples created by famous fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent or Alexander McQueen.
5/ Beethoven Moves
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna: March 25th – July 5th 2020
Austria is celebrating one of its most famous composers, Ludwig van Beethoven, this year. To join this homage, Kunsthistorisches Museum and the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna are organising a fascinating exhibition. Beethoven’s music was inspirational to generations of artists and people from all walks of life. So they decided to present works of art by some famous artists like Caspar David Friedrich, William Turner, Francisco Goya and Auguste Rodin. All of it accompanied by some of the beautiful Beethoven’s music. If you’d like to see how one artist inspired generations of others, be sure to visit this exhibition.
6/ Andy Warhol
Tate Modern, London: March 12th – September 6th 2020
One of the best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020, and not only for the Pop Art fans, is going to be organised this year in Tate Modern in London. A great retrospective is going to showcase some of Andy Warhol’s iconic pieces like the Marilyn Monroe portraits, Coca-Cola images, Campbell’s Soup cans and many more of his fantastic work. This exhibition is definitely worth marking your calendar and planning a trip to London.
7/ Italian sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo
The Louvre, Paris: May 6th – August 17th 2020
Exploring one of the most important periods in European art, the Louvre is going to display some of the most famous Italian renaissance sculpture this summer. The exhibition is organised in collaboration with another great museum, the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. They researched their collections, and have curated an excellent selection of statues from Donatello to Michelangelo. It’s definitely an exhibition that shouldn’t be missed in 2020.
8/ Marina Abramović: After Life
Royal Academy, London: September 26th – December 8th 2020
Marina Abramović is, without a doubt, one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world, moving the boundaries of art since the beginning of her career. That’s why her upcoming art show in London is already gaining a lot of attention. Even though nothing is yet known about the performance or the work she’s going to showcase there. In any case, if you happen to be in London in autumn 2020, be sure to put a visit to the Royal Academy to your agenda.
The National Gallery, London: October 3rd 2020 – January 24th 2021
One of the best art exhibitions in European museums in 2020 is going to be organised later this year in London. Around thirty paintings created by famous Renaissance painter are going to be on display at a special exhibition held in the National Gallery in London. Besides their own work created by Raphael, loans from the Louvre, Vatican Museums and Galleria degli Uffizi are going to be on display, as well. However, the goal of the exhibition authors is also to show other aspects of Raphael’s work, such as his drawings, prints, sculpture, tapestry and involvement in poetry, archaeology and architecture.
10/ Slavery, an exhibition
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: September 25th 2020 – January 17th 2021
And for the end, the history exhibition that sounds like one of the gems that are going to be organised in 2020. Rijksmuseum is going to deal with a still difficult topic, focusing on slavery in Dutch colonial period, between the 17th and the 19th century. They are going to approach the subject through the personal stories of ten individuals, giving a face to slavery. It definitely sounds like an interesting exhibition and the one that shouldn’t be missed if you happen to be in Amsterdam later this year.
It looks like this year has a lot to offer when it comes to art and cultural events. There are going to be many more exciting exhibitions organised throughout the year, but here are my top ten art exhibitions in European museums in 2020. Are you planning to visit any? Would you add any other to this list? Let me know in the comments!
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