Italian Art Exhibits in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom

Da Vinci's famous "Lady with an Ermine" will be in London

This year, some of Italy’s best artifacts and artworks aren’t just traveling to the United States… they’ll also be in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Our round-up of some of the best Italian exhibits, from paintings by Raphael and Botticelli in Canberra, Australia to London’s exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci’s artwork, the most complete one ever held!


One of the drawings on display in Ottawa

Until Jan. 2, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa hosts “Embellishing Architecture: Italian Drawings of Architectural Decorations and Ornaments,” which explores works done from 1550-1800. If you’re heading to Italy soon, this’ll give you a taste for, and a background in, all of the beautiful buildings you’ll see!


Paintings by Raphael, Titian, Bellini, and Botticelli are all on display at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in its exhibit of more than 70 pieces by 15th- and 16th-century Italian masters. Lent by Bergamo’s Accademia Carrara, it’s an extraordinary chance to get familiar with the Renaissance artists outside of Italy, and takes place from Dec. 9 2011 to April 9 2012.

Until Jan. 9, the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth presents “Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the Victoria & Albert Museum.” The exhibit shows off spectacular sculptures, paintings, jewels, and textiles from across Europe, including a sculpted portrait by the Italian Baroque master Bernini, who you’ll come across often when in Rome.

United Kingdom

From Feb. 11 to April 15, the Ashmoleon Museum in Oxford hosts the exhibit “Guercino: A Passion for Drawing,” showing off a collection of sketches by the famous Italian Baroque artist. Best of all, entrance is free.

Da Vinci's famous "Lady with an Ermine" will be in London

This one’s super-exciting: the National Gallery in London is hosting the single most complete exhibit of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci ever held. Called “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan,” the show is, believe it or not, the first one dedicated to da Vinci’s work as an artist, rather than as a scientist or inventor. And it includes such fantastic works as La Belle Ferronière (loaned by the Louvre), Saint Jerome (from Rome’s Vatican museums) and the famous Lady with an Ermine (loaned by Krakow). Also exhibited will be preparatory drawings for, and a full-scale copy of, the Last Supper.

And, to get everyone even more psyched up for the Leonardo exhibit, the National Gallery has a number of great events surrounding da Vinci as well, including a lecture by Leonardo expert Martin Kemp on how to really understand the misunderstood genius and a Saturday course on understanding his paintings. (Click here for more da Vinci-related events, and others, at the National Gallery).

One of the da Vinci drawings traveling around the U.K. over the next year

But you don’t have to be in London to get a taste of Leonardo. To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Collection is loaning ten of its best drawings by da Vinci to five different museums across the U.K. The first to receive the pieces is Birmingham, which will have the drawings from Jan. 13-March 25; they move to the Museum and Art Gallery of Bristol from March 30-June 10, the Ulster Museum at Belfast from June 15-Aug. 27, to Dundee from Aug. 31-Nov. 4, and finally to Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery from Nov. 10-Jan. 20 2013.

Also to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, the Queen’s Gallery of Buckingham Palace in London hosts the largest-ever exhibit of da Vinci’s studies of the human body. Taking place from May 4-Oct. 7, this is one to interest not only the art-lovers, but those more inclined to the natural sciences, too.

Next summer, meanwhile, the National Gallery in London is turning its attention to another Italian painter: Titian. Its exhibit “Metamorphosis,” held from July 11-Sep. 23 next year, will explore the Venetian painter’s work; so will many events, including this (cheap!) Friday-evening drawing class that takes lessons from Titian’s work, held Oct. 21. And at the National Museum in Cardiff, Titian’s famous Diana and Actaeon will be lent from the National Gallery and on display from April 19-June 17.

Dreaming of Venice? Then don’t miss “Venetian Visions: The Art of Canaletto, Tiepolo, Carlevarijs and their Contemporaries 1700-1800,” on at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London until April 1. The exhibit focuses not only on Venice’s prints, drawings and paintings, but its porcelain, lace, glass, and other textiles. And admission is free.


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