This section contains an overview of the most relevant exhibitions. Each item is connected to the organizing museum.

Georges de la Tour in Madrid

Georges de La Tour (1993-1652), Old Man, 1618-1619. Photo: Wikiart

Georges de La Tour (1993-1652)  has only recently been discovered. Little is known of his early training in the city of Vic-sur-Seille in Lorraine (France), which he must have completed around 1610 when he was aged about 17. Subsequent documentation reveals him as a financially successful painter, living from 1620 in Lunéville, professionally renowned, but with a violent and brusque character. At the end of his career La Tour was appointed painter to Louis XIII. La Tour lived at a crucial period for the history of Lorraine, with commissions of the Duke of Lorraine, until he chose for the French occupier King Louis XIII, who conquered Lorraine and which culminated with the loss of the duchy’s political independence. Within this context the artist evolved a painting of surprising lyricism, particularly in his nocturnal scenes, nearly all of them religious. These are almost monochrome works with monumental forms, filled with solitude and silence. Most of his pictures have no signatory and are not dated. This explains his late recognition a Great Master. His come back came in 1915 when the art historian Hermann Voss identified three of his paintings and afterwards in 1934 at the occasion of the exposition “Les peintres de la réalité en France au XVII siècle” in the Orangerie (Paris). The breakthrough came in 1972 when the first monographic exhibition about his works was organized in Paris.

The Paradise of Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Tahiti Woman with a Flower, 1891. Photo: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Copenhagen.

The exhibition adds new layers to the story of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), presenting his experimental explorations of ‘the primitive’. Featuring more than seventy works spanning every media employed by the artist, the exhibition offers an overview of Gauguin’s wide-ranging life’s work while also focusing on particular highlights. Gauguin’s pursuit of the primitive in the face of personal and financial difficulties was not fuelled by an interest in ethnographic matters, but sprang from an artistic vision. A vision that took on its own distinctive form across different cultures, ages and religions, making no concessions to established norms for artistic creativity and use of media. The exhibition explores the journey that led towards Gauguin’s personal, original artistic idiom.

The Death of an Archaeologist

Schliemann als Großkaufmann in St. Petersburg, 1861© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Archiv des Museums für Vor- und Frühgeschichte.

Heinrich Schliemann  died on 26 December 1890 in Naples. He was buried on 4 January 1891 in the Athen’s First Cemetery. The  exhibition, “Death in Naples – The 125th anniversary of the Death of HeinrichSchliemann” is a homage to the archaeologist, collector and patron. Selected exhibits from the Trojan Collection and from other excavations, including those at Mycenae, Tiryns and Orchomenos, are presented together for the first time. The special exhibition runs alongside the Neues Museum’s permanent exhibition of the Berlin Trojan holdings, which have been connected with the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte since the “Collection of Trojan Antiquities” was gifted to the Berlin Museums in 1881. A display of a collection of Egyptian vessels, probably brought back from Egypt as souvenirs, completes this comprehensive picture of Heinrich Schliemann, excavator and collector, and his life’s work in archaeology.

A Painter of Ruins

Hubert Robert (1733-1808), La Transformation de la Grande Galerie. 1796. Photograph Musée du Louvre © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Hubert Robert (1733-1808) has come down as a painter of ruins and landscapes and one of the 18th century’s greatest creators of poetic images. Witty and urbane with an endlessly enquiring mind, Hubert Robert was a true man of the Enlightenment. He followed a remarkable artistic path that led him from Rome in the mid-18th century to the court of France, where he produced some of the most spectacular decors in the brilliant decade that preceded the French Revolution.  The work of this visionary artist was both eclectic and deeply coherent. It encompassed a broad range of genres: poetic landscapes, imaginary urban views inspired by architectural capricci, archaeological studies, remarkable and innovative designs for gardens and palatial decorations. This aspect is at the heart of the exhibition devoted to this artist. The exhibition presents an exceptional and varied selection of some 140 works including drawings, paintings, sketches, engravings, monumental paintings, large decorative works, and furniture.