Exhibition Preview: 2023

Have you bought your new diary, or do you rely solely on a digital calendar? I’m a traditionalist and carefully select a beautiful hardback desk diary which becomes my bible for the year, with appointments, anniversaries, travel and events. Everything, large or small, noted to not only keep on track but, just as importantly, in anticipation of interesting and fun things to come. Having good things to look forward is important especially in today’s ever-changing world.

Already in the diary for the first part of the New Year are some exhibitions that have caught my eye. There will be many more to come I’m sure, but here’s five to get the year off to a creative start.

1. The British Museum

L to R: Panagyurishte Treasure from Bulgaria discovered by three brothers in 1949 and magnificent examples of ancient metalworking; Gilded silver plate, Iran or Afghanistan, probably Parthian or Early Sasanian, probably 2nd-3rd century.

This exhibition is a superb opportunity to explore different notions of luxury across the Persian, Greek and later
Hellenistic worlds; particularly, how they interrelate and inform contemporary attitudes. It’s incredibly exciting to display the Panagyurishte Treasure, a once-in-a-generation loan, in this wider context.”

Dr Henry Bishop-Wright at the British Museum.

When Greek soldiers captured the royal command tent of the Persian king during the Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC), they were confronted by luxury on a previously unimaginable scale. The victories of the small Greek forces against the mighty Persians were popularly considered a triumph of discipline and restraint over an empire weakened by decadence and excess. Luxury and power: Persia to Greece will explore luxury and power in the Middle East and southeast Europe between 550-30 BC, a period when ancient Iran clashed with the cities and kingdoms of Greece before it was conquered by Alexander the Great. 4 May – 15 August 2023 britishmuseum.org/luxuryandpower

2. Royal Academy of Arts

Joaquín Sorolla, Vision of Spain (sketch), 1912-1913. Post main image. Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa, Girls of Burriana (Falleras), 1910-11. Copyright The Hispanic Society of America, New York.

Spain and the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library will bring together over 150 works from Spain and colonial Latin America, dating from antiquity to the early 20th century and displayed in chronological order. The first time the collection has been presented in the UK the exhibition aims to reflect the diversity of cultural and religious influences, Celtic, Islamic, Christian and Jewish to American, African and Asian, that have shaped and enriched Spanish culture across four millennia. Expect paintings, sculptures, silk textiles, ceramics, lustreware, silverwork, precious jewellery, maps, drawings and illuminated manuscripts, all from the Hispanic Society of America, considered the most extensive collection of Spanish and Hispanic art outside of Spain. 21 January – 10 April 2023. www.royalacademy.org.uk

3. National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Galery reopening 2023. L to R: The East Wing; star portraits from the National Portrait Gallery.

Not an exhibition as such, yet announced, however The National Portrait Gallery, closed since 2020 for extensive redevelopment, reopens in 2023. As well as a refurbishment of the Grade I Listed building there will be a complete redisplay of the Collection from the Tudors to today, and a new Ross Place entrance opens up the North Façade, with three new doors converted from large windows. The nine galleries across the first floor will explore society and culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Gallery’s East Wing will reopen for pubic use also as the Weston Wing. Restored original gallery spaces and new retail and catering facilities, as well as a learning centre. Reopening 22 June 2023. www.npg.org.uk

4. Tate Modern

The Swan © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk (1914-1915). Courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation.

Twentieth century artists Klint and Mondrian never met but a new exhibition will explore their shared connection to the natural world. Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life will bring together around 250 works, paintings, drawings and archival materials, chosen to illustrate how their work reflected radical new ideas, theories and scientific discoveries in an era of rapid social change. The largest presentation of Hilma af Klint’s work in the UK to date, including The Ten Largest series (1907). Figurative Piet Mondrian paintings such as The Red Cloud 1907 and Evolution (1911) will feature as well as early abstract experiments like Composition in colour B (1917). 20 April – 3 September 2023. www.tate.org.uk

5. The Wallace Collection

L to R: Edwin Landseer, Doubtful Crumbs, 1858-1859 © The Wallace Collection; Jean-Jacques Bachelier, Dog of the Hanava Breed, 1768, oil on canvas, French School, © The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.

Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney will feature four-legged friends across the centuries through 59 paintings, sculptures, drawings, works of art and taxidermy. Dogs are represented in the earliest cave paintings, alongside humans, dog portraiture wthout their human companions, flourished in Britain, from the 17th century onwards. This exhibition was postponed due to the pandemic in
2020 and works were also deliberately chosen for their lack of human presence, including Queen Victoria’s spaniels and David Hockney’s dachshunds. But you know what they say about dogs and their masters (that the characters reflect their owners’ personalities) so it should be revealing. 29 March – 15 October 2023. www.wallacecollection.org

That’s all for this year. Thank you for following me this year on here and Instagram and for all your kind comments.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

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