By Maria Bregman

The UK is a hub of creativity and innovation, with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. From ancient treasures to cutting-edge contemporary art, there is something for everyone to enjoy and explore. Here are some of the best art and design shows to visit in the UK in 2023.

Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance at the V&A

Donatello was one of the most influential and prolific sculptors of the Italian Renaissance, whose works revolutionized the representation of the human figure and the expression of emotion. This exhibition, the first major survey of his art in the UK, will showcase over 100 sculptures, drawings, paintings, and medals, spanning his entire career and artistic development. Highlights include his bronze David, the first freestanding nude statue since antiquity, his marble reliefs of the Madonna and Child, and his wooden crucifixes and saints. The exhibition will also explore Donatello’s legacy and influence on later artists, such as Michelangelo, Bernini, and Rodin. Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance will run from 11 February to 11 June 2023 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum

Johannes Vermeer was one of the most celebrated painters of the Dutch Golden Age, renowned for his exquisite depictions of domestic scenes and portraits. His works are rare and fragile, and only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him. This exhibition, the first major show of his art in the Netherlands since 1996, will bring together about 28 of his masterpieces, including his iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid, and The Art of Painting. The exhibition will also feature works by his contemporaries, such as Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, and Frans van Mieris, to provide a broader context of Vermeer’s style and themes. Vermeer will run from 10 February to 4 June 2023 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Hockney: Bigger and Closer at the Lightroom

David Hockney is one of the most influential and versatile artists of our time, whose works span painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and digital media. He is best known for his vibrant landscapes and portraits, which capture the essence of light, space, and time. This exhibition, the first of its kind, will present a selection of his large-scale works, some of which measure over 10 meters in length, in an immersive and interactive environment. Visitors will be able to walk inside Hockney’s brightly coloured world, and experience his vision of nature and humanity in a new and intimate way. Hockney: Bigger and Closer will run from 25 January to 23 April 2023 at the Lightroom in London.

Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle at Robert Simon Fine Art

Alice Neel was one of the most original and provocative painters of the 20th century, who defied the conventions of her time and created a remarkable body of work that chronicled the lives and personalities of her subjects. She painted people from all walks of life, from her family and friends, to celebrities and activists, to strangers and outcasts, with honesty, empathy, and humour. This exhibition, the first solo show of her work in New York since 2010, will focus on her portraits of women, which reveal her keen insight into the female condition and experience. The exhibition will feature over 30 paintings and drawings, dating from the 1930s to the 1980s, including her self-portraits, nudes, mothers and children, and socialites and feminists. Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle will run from 10 February to 29 May 2023 at Robert Simon Fine Art in New York.

Spain and the Hispanic World at the Royal Academy

Spain has a rich and diverse artistic heritage, which reflects its history, culture, and identity. This exhibition, the first of its scale and scope in the UK, will celebrate the artistic achievements of Spain and the Hispanic world, from the 15th to the 21st century. The exhibition will feature over 200 works, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts, from the collection of the Hispanic Society of America in New York, one of the most important repositories of Hispanic art outside Spain. The exhibition will showcase the works of some of the most famous Spanish artists, such as Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, and Dalí, as well as lesser-known but equally fascinating artists from Latin America, the Philippines, and other regions that were once part of the Spanish empire. Spain and the Hispanic World will run from 21 January to 10 April 2023 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

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