Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Genius Of Rome: 1592-1623 examines a period when Rome became the leading artistic centre, with young and ambitious artists flocking there from throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. It focuses on the ways in which Caravaggio, Carracci, Elsheimer, Rubens and their contemporaries responded to similar artistic themes, influenced one another, and jointly laid the foundations for what was to become the Baroque style. They created paintings which were far more direct, natural and immediate than those of their predecessors. Caravaggio is undoubtedly the star in involving his audience with his subjects. 'The Taking Of Christ' (in which he appears carrying a lantern) embodies the spirit of the movement in its observation of light, capture of motion, and violence of subject - almost creating a press photograph of the incident. The realism of his 'St John The Baptist', bringing a graphic humanity to a religious figure, illustrates why works of these painters were not always acceptable to the church. The exhibition features some 150 paintings, several of which have never previously been seen in this country, from over 40 artists. The climax of the exhibition is an installation of 16 altarpieces that recreate the atmosphere of a Roman Baroque church. There have been few occasions when such a large collection of history making work has been seen in Britain. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th April.
Bond At Beaulieu is a chance to see up close an extensive collection of authentic vehicles which have featured in James Bond films. The exhibition includes: Aston Martin DB5 from "Goldeneye", Aston Martin Volante from "The Living Daylights", BMW 7 Series and Jump Bike from "Tomorrow Never Dies", BMW Z 8 - both halves - from "The World Is Not Enough", Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me", and Rolls-Royce Phantom III used by "Goldfinger", plus gadgets and artefacts from many films - even Jaws steel teeth. In addition there is an opportunity to see how the stunts were created - from storyboard to finished film - and then view the results in clips from the Bond blockbusters. The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu until April.
Sigmar Polke: Music Of Unclear Origin is the first major exhibition in Scotland of works by Polke, one of Germany's foremost painters, and the largest collection ever shown in the UK. He came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, with works similar in style to the Pop Art being made in Britain and America at the time. Polke borrows freely from numerous and widely varying sources, including advertising and popular culture - he likes to deface ads with cartoons and captions. A prodigious output combines a range of different subjects and styles (often combined/juxtaposed in one work). The most consistent feature is a blown up newsprint style, similar to Roy Lichtenstein, in which he applies the paint dot by dot using a pencil eraser. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 18th March.
I Am A Camera has a simple premise, presenting the work of nine artists whose medium is photography or painting which has a photographic quality. What it delivers in the contrasting works of two contributors in particular, is an extraordinarily vivid portrait of the extremes of American society. Jessica Craig-Martin inhabits the uptown world of ladies who lunch - for charity - showing in close up (usually cutting off heads) the style details which are so important in the milieu of fundraisers and benefits. These are the pictures Craig-Martin takes for herself, while pursuing her day job as recorder of social functions for American Vogue. Nan Goldin moves in the downtown world of the Lower East Side streets, among junkies, poets and transvestites. She specialises in series of pictures, which tell the story of particular characters. Between these two stand Duane Hanson's hyper real sculptures of the working urban poor who service Manhattan, specifically cleaners, and other blue collar workers. Saatchi Gallery, London NW3, 020 7624 8299 until 25th March.
Portraits In Profile: The Deighton Family is an exhibition of hand coloured etchings from the 1790s, offering fine examples of how caricatures became an established satirical form. One of the most notable artistic families of the Regency period, the Deightons (Robert Snr, Robert Jnr, Denis, Richard and Joshua) were renowned for their colourful etched profile portraits of personalities of the time. While not as savage as James Gillray or George Cruickshank, their humorous character studies still offered a sharp comment on members of the Royal household, members of parliament, the military, bastions of polite society and pillars of the stage. National Portrait Gallery until 8th July.
Human And Divine presents two millennia of Indian sculpture, highlighting the variety and achievements of a dynamic artistic tradition. The human form has been used in Indian art to portray the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, and the saviours and saints of Buddhism and Jainism. These include the four armed Vishnu, preserver of the universe, Shiva - Lord Of The Dance, god of destruction, and Sarasvati, goddess of learning and the arts. The symbolism of each figure's pose and gesture has great significance to their followers. This exhibition explains why Indian sculpture looks as it does, and what this symbolism means. Over seventy works illustrate a wide range of skills in stone, bronze, terracotta, marble, ivory and wood, from miniatures to large scale sculpture. City Art Gallery, Southampton until 25th March.
Libeskind At The Soane: Drawing A New Architecture juxtaposes the work of controversial contemporary architect Daniel Libeskind and Victorian giant Sir John Soane. The man who designed the unfolding cardboard box like extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum up against the man who designed the Bank Of England. It provides an opportunity to see drawings and models of Libeskind projects from six different countries, together with a series of rarely glimpsed conceptual drawings - the Micromegas. The result is an installation of nine specially commissioned miniature models scattered like architectural fragments from a future age beneath the canopy dome of Soane's Breakfast Parlour. The Gallery houses an explosion of geometrical forms in ten meticulously constructed abstract compositions made in the late 1970s before Libeskind became a practitioner. The exhibition is completed by drawings showing current projects including the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Studio Weil in Spain; the V&A Spiral; and his latest scheme, the Denver Art Museum. Often cited as the favourite "undiscovered" Victorian collection in London, Sir John Soane's Museum has so much crammed in already, it's hard to imagine how it is possible to add further exhibits. Sir John Soane's Museum until 10th March.
The 1940s House Exhibition recreates 17 Braemar Gardens - the pre-war suburban "semi" featured in a Channel 4 television series The 1940s House, to be shown in January. The series explores how a present-day family would adapt to life on the home front during the Second World War by observing a real family living under wartime conditions for two months. The house is furnished and equipped as it would have been in the 1940s. Visitors can tour both floors and part of the garden with a "Dig for Victory" vegetable patch and an Anderson Shelter. The exhibition includes an introductory section on the making of the television series, a reconstruction of part of a wartime grocer's shop and displays about life on the home front ranging from the Blitz to the blackout. Special events to accompany the exhibition will focus on rationing, popular music, cookery and entertainment, and films about life on the home front are also scheduled. Imperial War Museum until 3rd June.
Turner: The Great Watercolours marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Britain's greatest painter with the first exhibition devoted to J.M.W. Turner's exploration of the scope and potential of watercolour (rather than his better known work in oils). The exhibition includes many of his architectural and country-house drawings, and works from the "Picturesque Views in England and Wales" series, generally considered to be the finest views of the British landscape ever made. It culminates in a group of Swiss watercolours from the 1840's in which Turner captured the beauty, luminosity and space of the Alps. This is an unparalleled survey of 100 of the artist's finished watercolours (as opposed to sketches for future oils), dazzling in their breadth of scale, depth of tone, richness of colour and wealth of detail. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th February.
Slipstitch+ - New Concepts In Knitting offers needles and wool on steroids, giving them an Arnold Schwarzenegger edge. It features sculptural structures, furniture and other creations made from materials which include electro-plated polypropylene thread and industrialised closed cell polythene foamrod (whatever they are). These works by British and Dutch designers have more to do with the high tech, industrial, architectural and textural than homely jumpers by the fireside. Structural form and technical know-how shape the work of the modern knitter, whose concerns are 21st century materials and fantastical finishing processes. James Hockey Gallery, Farnham, Surrey, 01252 892668 until 10th February.
Painting The Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900 - 2000 is a simple idea, bringing together one portrait painted in each year of the twentieth century from collections around the world, and presenting them chronologically. The interest is generated by the prominence of both the artist and the subject in their time, and the history of styles represented. It provides a comprehensive chronology of the history and culture of recent times, and celebrates the extraordinary revolutions in styles and attitudes towards the portrait in European and American art during the course of the twentieth century. Artists are of the stature of Munch, Picasso, Beckmann, Grosz, Modigliani, Bacon, Warhol, Hockney, Sutherland and Freud plus a selection of less well known figures. Their subjects include personalities as diverse as Lenin, Elvis Presley, Mussolini, Charlie Chaplin, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates and David Bowie. National Portrait Gallery until 4th February.
The Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, as it works to the lunar calendar, so 24th January sees the start of 4699, which puts the fuss over whether or not this is the real start to the third millennium into perspective. It will be a year of the Snake Sleeping In Winter, which is good, indicating a sufficient build up of resources to last the winter in comfort. However it is dependent on sufficient preparatory work being done to amass those resources, which is not quite so good. Chinese communities across the country will be celebrating with Good Luck decorations, Lion dancing, firecrackers and food much in evidence for anything up to two weeks. Events across Britain from 24th January.