We’re in for a treat this year which marks important anniversaries for two giants of art history: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). In Amsterdam, there will be exhibitions throughout the year dedicated to the Dutch master. On 15 February, the Rijksmuseum opens ‘All the Rembrandts’ which will include the entire holding of the museum’s works by the artist; 22 paintings, 60 drawings and hundreds of prints and engravings.
The headline act for Leonardo will open at the Louvre in Paris on 24 October which owns about a third of the artist’s paintings. Leonardo spent his last three years in France as court artist to Francois I; when he died, three paintings he had brought with him – including the Mona Lisa – entered the French royal collection, which already owned The Virgin of the Rocks and La Belle Ferronnière. In addition, they acquired 22 of the artist’s drawings. This exhibition will also include loans, including drawings from the Royal Collection (UK), although it was recently reported that Italy will not permit any loans as previously hoped. As well as the loan to the Louvre, the Royal Collection is also staging an ambitious series of exhibitions with a selection of their finest Leonardo drawings being shown simultaneously, with 12 works going on view in each of 12 British cities. Later this year, the exhibitions will reunite for a standout show at the Queen’s Gallery.
Other early picks for the year include the first major survey of Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) in the United States in more than forty years which will take place at The Met Breuer from 23 January to 14 April; the first major British retrospective of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) in more than 20 years which opened at Tate Modern in London on 23 January (until 6 May); the first retrospective of Tintoretto to take place in the US which will be shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (10 March to 7 July); and ‘Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana: Two Models of the Female Artist’ which celebrates two female Old Master artists at the Prado in Madrid from 22 October.
And of course: the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice will open in May. Over the following six months, more than 500,000 visitors will visit the Venice Biennale to experience what has become possibly the world’s greatest celebration of contemporary art. This year, it is curated by the director of London’s Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff.