Apollo Magazine

Exhibition of the Year

National Gallery, London
3 October–24 January 2021

This display under Letizia Treves’s expert curation gathered 30 works firmly attributed to Gentileschi and set them amid compelling biographical material. The drama of her life story, this display demonstrated, is exceeded only by the drama in her paintings.

Self Portrait as a Lute Player (c. 1615–18), Artemisia Gentileschi. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford

Self Portrait as a Lute Player (c. 1615–18), Artemisia Gentileschi. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford

Leonardo da Vinci
Musée du Louvre, Paris
24 October 2019–24 February

Based on more than 10 years of research and conservation, this exhibition focused on five key Leonardo works in the Louvre’s collection. The use of technology such as VR was especially apt, complementing the genius of this great scientist and inventor.

Portrait of a Musician (c. 1485), Leonardo da Vinci. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan

Pieter de Hooch in Delft: From the Shadow of Vermeer
Museum Prinsenhof, Delft
11 October 2019–16 February

This was the first retrospective in the Netherlands dedicated to De Hooch, whose courtyard scenes influenced Vermeer and who in the 18th and early 19th centuries was better known than the celebrated Golden Age painter.

A Mother’s Duty (c. 1660–61), Pieter de Hooch. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
30 January–26 October

Significant loans from Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Niger explored the trade networks and rich artistic traditions of the historic empires making up the western Sahel – as well as crucial developments such as the arrival of Islam.

Equestrian figure (19th–20th century), Bamana, Mali. Private collection. Photo: Peter Zeray; © Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution
Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), Ghent
1 February–30 April

This exhibition was centred around the recently cleaned exterior panels of the Ghent Altarpiece, and offered a rare opportunity to see these works up close, at eye level. Rare, too, was the chance to compare in the flesh so many works by the Flemish master, many of which had been conserved in advance of the exhibition.

Installation view showing St John the Baptist and the Evangelist from the Ghent Altarpiece (1432) by Jan and Hubert van Eyck, MSK Ghent, 2020. Photo: David Levane; © MSK Ghent

Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
17 February–31 January 2021

Featuring nearly 200 works, this ambitious exhibition revealed the inspiration American painters such as Jacob Lawrence and Jackson Pollock found in the art of the leading Mexican muralists.

My Nieces (1940), María Izquierdo. Museo Nacional de Art, INBA, Mexico City. Reproduction authorised by El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2019; © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City

The Shortlists Acquisition of the Year | Artist of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year Museum Opening of the Year


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