Arcimboldo to Kitaj, at The British Museum gives an extraordinary glimpse of 11,000 prints and drawings acquired by the museum over the past five years. Having begun on the 30th May, the exhibition will run until 1st September.
This exhibition of 130 pieces on display will show how the Museum’s collection of graphic works has substantially grown in recent years through generous gifts and bequests. The collection’s unique breadth and depth will be displayed in three distinct sections that span continents and centuries – from the unusual Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527–1593) to the challenging American painter and printmaker RB Kitaj (1932–2007).
This will be the first presentation of Kitaj’s prints to be shown in London for two decades, and one third of the exhibition displays 49 of nearly 300 works that Kitaj gave to the Museum shortly before his death in 2007. The gift contained the major suites of prints from the 1960s and 1970s – including the magisterial ‘In Our Time’ series, as well as rarely seen prints such as Yaller Bird and the Red Dancer of Moscow.
Another third of the exhibition will concentrate on modern Italian graphic works – including Gastone Novelli’s drawing from 1960, ‘Untitled (Homage to Samuel Beckett’). The remainder of the exhibition will be divided between 20th and 21st century works, and material from earlier periods . Among these will be an engraving of 1577 by Johannes van Doetecum, illustrating popular proverbs, a heartbreaking etching by Francisco de Goya entitled ‘El amor y la muerte (Love and death)’, two Picasso linocuts from the 1960s, and Grayson Perry’s ‘Pilgrimage to the British Museum’.
The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see a fascinating cross-section of recent acquisitions by the Department of Prints and Drawings – made possible by the ongoing support of a broad range of patrons and benefactors.
If you are visiting the city for this exhibition then why not treat yourself and stay in 5ive Star London’s luxury hotel, The Savoy, situated only a few minutes’ walk from The British Museum.