We are now well into the winter period here in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of us dream of when we will see the sun again and all the outdoor activities that come with it. But until then, museums are a great indoor place to spend time in, which is why we are now looking into art exhibitions to see in Italy this Spring 2023.
Another thing to do in Italy in February? Visit a carnival! I know, the Italians are weird like that, doing an obviously summer activity in the middle of winter. But, it does make a little more sense if we know these celebrations are connected to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and the Ancient Greek and Roman celebrations of gods. In any case, it’s a feat not to be missed. You’ve probably heard of the world-famous Venice carnival, but the truth is that these events take place all over Italy. Some I would definitely visit this February 21 include the one in Acireale (Sicilia), Fano (Marche), Viareggio (Toscana), Putignano (Puglia) and Ivrea (Piemonte).
If you don’t feel like going out though, I’d recommend a Rai5 series dedicated to the colors of art. Starting February 15 at 9.15pm local time, “Art Night. I colori dell’arte” will narrate the history of art through the lens of color (red, blue, yellow, green, white, and black).
Reaching for the stars at Palazzo Strozzi Florence
The year 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Turin-based Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection, one of the most famous and prestigious contemporary art collections in Italy. Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi will fill itself with the works from the collection this spring. Just look at this artist line-up: Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, William Kentridge, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye… We are sold!
“Reaching for the Stars. From Maurizio Cattelan to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye” opens on March 4 and will be on view until June 18. You can buy your tickets online.
Gian Maria Tosatti at Pirelli HangarBicocca Milan
Those of you who visited the 59th Venice Biennale recognize the name of Gian Maria Tosatti. He represented Italy in the exhibition, in fact. Now, Pirelli HangarBiccoca will be giving more space to his artwork dealing with the notions of collectivity and memory, in their historical, political, and spiritual significance. Here however, there will be aspects and works never before introduced to audiences, aimed at provoking thought and questioning the essence of human existence.
“Gian Maria Tosatti NOw/here” closes on July 30. You can buy your tickets online.
Fluxus, Arte per tutti at Museo del Novecento Milan
The third and final project dedicated to Fluxus by the Fondazione Bonito is taking over Museo del Novecento’s fourth floor. This will be a look at one of the most important contemporary art movement by using editions: objects, graphic folders, and artist books. Many of the important Fluxus figures, such as Joseph Beuys, Allan Kaprow, and Nam June Paik, helped patrons create these. Following Fluxus’ own motto, the exhibition makes art available to everyone at the historic Milan venue.
“Fluxus, arte per tutti” closes on April 16. You can buy your tickets online.
Bosch and Another Renaissance at Palazzo Reale Milan
We are still in Milan, right next to Museo del Novecento, for that matter. At Palazzo Reale, an exhibition celebrates the genius of one Jheronimus Bosch. A spectacular showing of more than 100 artworks looks into a kind of renaissance that the Flemish master introduced to the history of art. It follows the thesis that his fantastic visions originated in Southern Europe, specifically in 16-century Italy and Spain. With important loans, the exhibition truly is unmissable; Bosch’s tapestries are from another world, and this is your chance to see them.
“Bosch and Another Renaissance” closes on March 12. You can buy your ticket online.
Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Surrealism at Mudec Milan
About 180 works from the esteemed collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands comes to Milan’s Museo Delle Culture. “A 360-degree view of the Surrealist universe” is how they describe this exhibition, telling the story of how Surrealists worked, their motivations, and the many mediums they used. Seems like a good opportunity to witness the entire cultures that Surrealism created across borders.
“Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Surrealism” opens on March 22 and will be on view through July 30. You can buy your tickets online.
Patrons, collectors, philanthropists at Gallerie d’Italia Milan
We now come to Gallerie d’Italia, which are killing it with their offer this spring, across Italy and historical epochs. The museums belong to the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, who needed space for their 35,000 works of art. They now show these online and in four Italian cities.
In their Milan branch, they draw inspiration from their banking background by exploring the roles of buyer, collector and philanthropist that many great bankers and banker families played in art from the Renaissance onwards. To boost their image, they supported the artists, resulting in economic but also cultural developments on both sides. The exhibition puts on display many very famous names like Michelangelo and Caravaggio, offering a new perspective on how these came to be.
“From the Medici to the Rothschilds. Patrons, collectors, philanthropists” closes on March 26. You can buy your tickets online.
Artemisia Gentileschi at Gallerie d’Italia Naples
Same venue, different city. In Naples, Gallerie d’Italia celebrate the time that Artemisia Gentileschi spent in the city. The exhibition explores a fundamental chapter in the artist’s life and art, her enormous success and a flourishing workshop, her collaborations with local artists and more. Works from both public and private collections are up for us to enjoy, and we most certainly should!
“Artemisia Gentileschi a Napoli” closes on 19 March. You can buy your tickets online.
JR at Gallerie d’Italia Turin
Last but not least, the first solo exhibition in Italy dedicated to the famous French artist JR. On February 7, JR’s wonderful public art performance hit Turin’s Piazza San Carlo. Five very large canvases carrying images of children he met during his visits to refugee camps around the world were unveiled, and some amazing aerial shots of the installation invaded our social medias for days. Some of these are also featured in the exhibition, alongside other memorable pieces from his 20-year-long career.
“JR – Déplacé∙e∙s” closes on July 16. You can buy your tickets online.
Eve Arnold at Camera Turin
While in Turin, there is another unmissable show, at the always worth-visiting Camera. Their great program continues with Eve Arnold and the works she created between 1950 and 1980. I’ll leave Robert Capa (co-founder of Magnum photos) to describe Eve’s work best. He said her photographs are like “falling between Marlene Dietrich’s legs and the bitter lives of migratory potato pickers.” And indeed, there is a little bit of everything, all impressive and captivating, like this portrait of Marilyn Monroe.
“Eve Arnold. Works 1950-1980” closes on June 4. You can buy your tickets online.
Bob Dylan at MAXXI Rome
I honestly had no idea that Bob Dylan is a visual artist as well. But alas, he has published nine books of drawings and paintings in the last 20 years, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. Now it’s time for another exhibition, this time at Rome’s MAXXI museum. The show aptly titled “Retrospectum” will delve into “personal journeys and geographies—both inner and exterior” through oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors, ink drawings, pastel and charcoal, but also a series of iron sculptures.
“Bob Dylan Retrospectum” closes on April 30. You can buy your tickets online.