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Culture

What's On at Europe's Museums

Belgium pays tribute to Rops’ provocative paintings, Britain explores Turner’s magical relationship with Venice, Berlin looks for the bad and the beautiful in fashion and Rembrandt’s students steal the show in France.

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"The Siesta" by Belgian artist Félicien Rops.

Designed to shock

Rops Museum, Belgium

Belgian artist Félicien Rops (1833-1898) rose to fame with his erotic and diabolical paintings and lithographs depicting the sins and pervasions of the 19th century. Working with pencil, lead, water colors and oils, Rops raised eyebrows among the mainstream bourgeoisie with his socially-provocative and blatantly erotic portrayal of women. Rops spent the heyday of his artistic career working in Paris and collaborated with influential French writers and poets such as Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Verlaine, Maupassant. The eponymous and revamped Rops Museum in his hometown of Namur in southern Belgian now offers a glimpse into the artist’s versatile works with the opening of a special exhibition. Rops’ graphics, poster-like lithographic prints and in particular his much sought-after illustrations for books take center stage. Rops’ notoriously famous picture "Pornokrates," which shows a blindfolded naked woman being pulled on a leash by a pig, is also on show.

The Félicien Rops exhibition runs through Feb. 29, 2004, daily, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Turner and Venice

Tate Britain

Venice: Moonlight 1840

JMW Turner (1775-1851), Venice: Moonlight, 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner, regarded by many as one of the greatest British artists of the 19th century and one of Western paintings most monumental figures, is known for his atmospheric and almost surreal watercolors and oil paintings of the natural and man-made splendors of Europe as well as his native country. The Tate Britain is now showing the first major exhibition on JMW Turner’s seminal trips to Venice, from 1819 to 1840. Though not the first to paint the haunting beauty of the lagoon city, Turner’s images of Venice are renowned for being some of the most magical and luminous of his works. The Tate Museum displays rare romantic and mysterious paintings, such as those done by Turner of Venice by moonlight. Most are on loan from public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the National Gallery of Scotland, while others are drawn from private collections. Beginning with the overwhelming center around the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica of San Marco, Turner’s paintings, strategically arranged, draw the visitor deeper into the city’s topography in an overwhelming play of light, color and water.

The exhibition "Turner and Venice" runs through Jan. 11, 2004, daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fashion on my mind

Kunstbibliothek, Berlin

Berlin’s Kunstbibliothek, or Art Library, will be showing a unique exhibition showcasing a survey of caricatures of fashion in Europe over four centuries. Called "Ridicule! Fashion caricatured, 1600 to 1900," the exhibition takes a look at how fashion, with its unpredictable and mutant nature, has proved perfect material for satirists to mock or laud over the centuries. Whether it was billowing dresses, the corset, upswept hairstyles, trilby, the bowler hat or riding breeches, fashion and fashion accessories, however tasteless or elegant, have found mention down the ages. The main focus of the exhibition are prints from Germany, France and England from the 16th to 19th centuries. In addition there around 15 historical articles of clothing are on show, among them magnificent Rococo dresses as well as a corset for both women and men.

The exhibition "Ridicule! Fashion caricatured, 1600 to 1900" runs from Dec. 12, 2003 through Feb. 15, 2004. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rembrandt's students grab spotlight

Museum of Fine Arts, Dijon, France

Selbstportrait von Rembrandt

Rembrandt, self-portrait

The Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon is showing an exhibition called "Rembrandt and his Students." True to the title, the exhibition doesn’t just focus on the works of the influential Dutch artist and portrait painter Rembrandt (1606-1699), but also includes oil paintings, graphics and etchings by Govaert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, two of his best-known students. Most of the works come from St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. Visitors may also view 21 of Rembrandt’s own works, including "Flora" and "Abraham’s Sacrifice."

The exhibition"Rembrandt and His Students" runs through March 8, 2004. The show is open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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