Discerning art-history fans visiting Europe this year will have a ton of choice, with museums in the major cities gearing up for some delectable special exhibitions that gather paintings from far and wide to compare in one room.
Here is an overview:
FRANKFURT: The prestigious Staedel Museum will be putting the focus on the Florence of the 16th century with an exhibition on Mannerism. "Maniera. Pontormo, Bronzino and the Florence of the Medicis" is the name of the show, to run February 24 to June 5, featuring more than 120 art works on loan. Opinions on Mannerism are often divided, with detractors saying it tends to artifice. But proponents say it also can be elegant and extravagant - what some critics in the 1960s termed "the stylish style." A key work in the show will be one from the Staedel's own collection, the "Portait of a Lady in Red" by Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572).
DEN BOSCH, NETHERLANDS: "Jheronimus Bosch - Visions of a Genius" is the title of the exhibition set for the town of 's-Hertogenbosch - or simply, Den Bosch - marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516). His birthplace city itself possesses no paintings by him, but the Noordbrabants Museum there will be showing some 20 borrowed paintings and 19 etchings in the exhibition running February 13 to May 8. It is believed to be the biggest show illustrating the Biblical horror visions and scenes for which Bosch was so famous. Unfortunately, the Prado Museum in Madrid could not be persuaded to lend the masterpiece "Garden of Earthly Delights" to the exhibition.
HAMBURG: The Bucerius Kunst Forum is inviting art lovers to take a closer look at Venetian painting, especially the works that were inspired by Venice's special atmosphere, its unique architecture and its canals and lagoons. The city inspired painters from Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1525/26) to Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). The Bucerius show, titled "Venice, City of Artists," is set to run October 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017 and will feature paintings covering five centuries.
BERLIN: The Gemaeldegalerie art museum in Berlin will be staging an exhibition on 16th-century Spanish painting on a scale never seen before outside of Spain. "Siglo de Oro" (the Golden Age), running July 1 to October 30, will include works by such masters as Diego Velazquez, Franciso de Zurbaran and Bartolomé Murillo. What lends this show a special fascination is the fact that this glorious era of Spanish painting set in at around the time that Spain's decline as a world power was starting. The exhibition will feature more than 100 works from international collections. After Berlin, the show will move to the Kunsthalle museum in Munich.
VIENNA: The influence of Munich painter Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) on Viennese painters is the subject of the exhibition "Sin and Secession - Franz von Stuck in Vienna" at the Belvedere Museum. Von Stuck was notorious in his time for paintings that were overtly erotic in nature. Viennese art star Gustav Klimt was deeply impressed. The show running from July 1 to October 9 will illustrate the deep influence von Stuck had on the Fin de Siècle art scene in Vienna.