Saturday, May 21

Art: Laura Cumming’s Top 10 of 2020 | Art

1. Artemisia
National Gallery, London; October 24 to January 24, 2021 (Temporarily closed)
Non-stop theater by the superbly original and dynamic Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who seems to live within every role she plays: lover, outraged victim, nation’s saving heroine.

2. Titian: love, desire, death
National Gallery, London; March-January 17, 2021 (Temporarily closed)
Golden light, shaking bodies, souls and skies in motion: Titian’s transformations of Ovid’s mythological scenes are some of the best paintings ever painted. This once-in-a-lifetime show brought the entire series together in one room. Even the artist himself never saw them all together.

3. Young Rembrandt
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; March
Rembrandt’s meteoric rise, from awkward teenage student to unrivaled genius in drawings, watercolors, wildly experimental prints, and various seismic self-portraits.

Self-portrait, 1629, by Rembrandt, in Ashomolean, Oxford, earlier this year.
Self-portrait, 1629, by Rembrandt, in Ashomolean, Oxford, earlier this year. Photographer: bpk | Bavarian State Painting Collections

Four. Enough Muholi
Tate Modern, London; November-June 6, 2021 (Temporarily closed)
Deep portraits and self-portraits of this tremendous South African photographer, depicting an entire LGBTQ community with great pictorial inventiveness, courage and frankness.

5. Hedda stars
Victoria Miro Gallery, London; January
Small but perfect sample of this still strangely underrated American abstract painter: liquid, subtle and luminous visions of land and water that have remained in my mind all year.

6. Leon Spilliaert
Royal Academy, London; February
The ghost of Ostend, haunting the long beach and its seaside colonnades at night, Spilliaert was a revelation this spring, with his parallax views and nearly monochrome perspectives. Self-portraits in oil, ink, and watercolor revealed him as the Munch of Belgium.

Qiniso, The Sails, Durban, 2019, a self-portrait by Zanele Muholi, at the Tate Modern.
Qiniso, The Sails, Durban, 2019, a self-portrait by Zanele Muholi, at the Tate Modern. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist and Stevenson, Cape Town / Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York

7. Arctic: culture and climate
British Museum in London; October
Impressive spectacle of arctic culture and life. From 28,000-year-old jewelry, discovered in freshly thawed ice, to sculpted figures of men and dogs, ivory walrus needles, fur clothing and modern photography, this is a portrait of a society through the lens of time and climate. . Runs until February 21, 2021.

8. The art newspaper and The Adventures of Waldy and Bendy in Art podcasts
The art newspaper ‘s podcasts provided brilliant news coverage during the pandemic and in-depth artist interviews by Ben Luke (especially his recent dialogue with Ragnar Kjartansson), while Bendor Grosvenor and Waldemar Januszczak’s wonderful double act, discussing everything from duff statues to Hogarth and Hirst, has been an essential listen in 2020.

9. Mauritshuis virtual tour, The Hague

For me, this is by far the best of all the virtual tours we rely on to visit museums during closing – the highest definition, the slowest and most elegant movement, and the incredible feeling of being in front of Vermeer’s View of delft for as long as you want, completely on your own.

10. Unearthed: the roots of photography
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; December-May 9, 2021 (Temporarily closed)
Elegant celery, exploding bouquets, and skeleton leaves, ghostly as lace – an astonishing history of photography that records flowers, fruits, and plants, including the pioneering work of Anna Atkins, Imogen Cunningham, and photographer and gardener Charles Jones.

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