Missed out on Vermeer in 2023? These artistic pearls may console you
With fierce demand for tickets to the Vermeer exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the bad news is that the show is completely sold out for its entire four-month run. If you missed out on the opportunity to see the 17th-century Dutch painter’s masterpieces in person, there are still lots of other fabulous exhibitions and events taking place this year.
Here’s our pick of some cool events to cheer you up and give you that cultural hit.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. If you wish to soak in his legacy, take a quick flight to Málaga and visit Museo Picasso Málaga, housed in the 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista.
The Dialogues with Picasso collection concludes at the end of the year, and it contains 400 of the artist’s paintings, drawings, graphic works, sculptures, ceramics and tapestries. Picasso: Matter and Body is another exhibition that takes place from May to September to examine Picasso’s use of the human shape. museopicassomalaga.org
Fashion fans and history lovers will have a royal time at an exhibition exploring what the Georgians wore in the 18th century. You’ll see luxurious textiles, glittering gowns worn at court, sparkling jewellery and a range of accessories ranging from snuff boxes to swords in Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians.
There are also paintings, prints and drawings by artists including Gainsborough, Zoffany and Hogarth in the examination of this revolutionary period that fuelled fashion trends across all levels of society. The exhibition runs from April 21 until October 8 at The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. rct.uk
Fans of Handel will be heading to Halle in Germany for a festival that celebrates the German composer. Händel-Festspiele Halle takes place from May 26 until June 11, and the theme of this year’s festival is ‘Die Oper: Streit um Dideldum und Dideldi’. This refers to the fierce competition between Handel and fellow composer, Giovanni Bononcini.
This year’s festival has concerts, talks, lunchtime performances and museum tours, with performances from artists including Anna Bonitatibus, Veronica Cangemi, Julia Lezhneva and Andrea Marcon. Fly to Leipzig with Ryanair and Halle is half an hour away by car. haendelhaus.de
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
If you’ve ever wanted to see the mesmerising works of tempestuous Mexican couple Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, an exhibition in Adelaide will encompass both artists. Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution will run from June 24 until September 17 at the Art Gallery of South Australia, exploring the radical art of one of the most influential creative couples of the 20th century.
The Australian-exclusive exhibition will feature more than 150 pieces of art and will also examine the beginnings of the Mexican cultural revolution right through to Kahlo and Rivera’s turbulent love affair. agsa.sa.gov.au
Hong Kong, China
At almost 94, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is regarded by many as the world’s most famous living artist. Kusama is known for her ‘infinity mirror rooms’ and she was spotlighted further when fashion company Louis Vuitton transformed many of its shops into enormous homages to her signature polka dots and red bobbed wig.
The colourful exhibition Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now is running at M+ in Hong Kong until May 14.
It features over 200 creations by Kusama through six different themes, and you will be able to view her work spanning seven decades – including paintings, installations, sculptures, drawings, collages, moving images, and lots of archival materials. mplus.org.hk
Arena di Verona Opera Festival
The 100th edition of the Arena di Verona Opera Festival takes place on individual dates between June 16 and September 9 and should hit the right note with opera buffs. Built in 30AD, the Arena di Verona amphitheatre will be used as the closing ceremony venue for the 2026 Winter Olympics, but you can enjoy some large-scale outdoor opera performances there this year.
Choose from performances of Aida, Carmen, Tosca, Rigoletto, Nabucco, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, among others, as well as an evening event with tenor Plácido Domingo on August 6. arena.it
Rock out to the Sziget Festival in Budapest, one of the biggest music and culture festivals in Europe. You won’t be bored as more than 1,000 artists will perform on more than 50 stages from August 10-15. The multi-genre line-up has artists such as Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence + The Machine and Niall Horan.
The event takes place on Óbudai-sziget island (Island of Old Buda) in north Budapest, which will become home to a host of wonderful art projects, visuals and interactive installations created by the locals. szigetfestival.com
Marc Chagall and Paul Klee exhibitions
This is the year to be illuminated by two immersive exhibitions on 20th century masters at Atelier des Lumières in Paris. The main one is Chagall, Paris-New York, where the themes that make up Russian-French artist Marc Chagall’s imagination will be projected on the walls of the gallery to a soundtrack of classical music, klezmer or jazz.
There is also a 10-minute programme on musician and violinist Paul Klee’s colourful and poetic work. It takes place to tunes from The Magic Flute, a nod to Klee’s fascination with opera and, especially, Mozart. The exhibitions run until January 2024. atelier-lumieres.com
He’s best-known for his two sculptures of the biblical hero David, and you have until June 11 to check out the first major UK exhibition to explore the exceptional talents of the Italian master sculptor, Donatello.
If you missed it in Berlin, Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance runs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington until June 11. It explores Donatello’s innovations, collaborations and inspirations within the vibrant artistic and cultural context of 15th-century Italy, and his undoubted influence on subsequent generations of artists. vam.ac.uk
New York City, USA
Fashionistas are likely to beat a very stylish path to the Brooklyn Museum this year to see Thierry Mugler: Couturissime, which runs until May 7. The exhibition showcases more than 100 outfits by the late French fashion and fragrance designer Thierry Mugler, who passed away in 2022.
The exhibition is the first retrospective of Mugler’s work and it encompasses stage costumes, haute couture designs and accessories. It also includes videos, photographs and sketches and explores the designer’s Angel perfume. brooklynmuseum.org