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Culture

What's on at Europe's Museums

Cremona takes a look at Caravaggio, simple sculptures grounded in complex thoughts tease viewers in London, the civilization of Tigris comes to Berlin and Cordier's ethnographic sculptures take Paris by storm.

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Caravaggio's painting graces an exhibit in Cremona

Lombardy Magic

Civico Ala Ponzone Museum, Cremona

A major exhibition exploring the rich tradition of naturalism in painting of the North Italian region of Lombardy — most famously expressed in the works of Caravaggio — is on at Cremona now. The exhibit features some 110 works that document the region's distinctive emphasis on observation of the natural world, beginning in the 15th century, with Leonardo da Vinci's stay in Milan, through the 18th century. A central figure in the exhibition is Caravaggio, through whom this naturalist approach came to Rome and became of key importance to Baroque art there and throughout Europe.

The exhibition, "Artists of Reality -- From Foppa and Leonardo to Caravaggio and Ceruit," runs until May 4. The museum is open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Face-Off

Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The Musée d'Orsay is hosting an exhibition on the work of ethnographic sculptor Charles Cordier. Cordier occupies a special place in French sculpture of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1848, the year slavery was abolished in France, he caught attention by exhibiting a bust of a Sudanese. Appropriating an ethnographic science then only in its beginnings, he was also remarkable for his use of polychromy in sculpture, in particular of the onyx-marble of Algeria.

The exhibition, "Facing the Other," runs through May 2. The museum is open Thursday 10 a.m. to 9.45 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, closed Monday.

Simple Sculptures, Complex Thoughts

Tate Gallery of Modern Art, London

The Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London is hosting a retrospective of the work of Donald Judd. This exhibition is the first substantial retrospective of the American's work in three-dimensions since 1988, and the first to trace his career up to his death in 1994. Working in New York in the 1960s, Judd became known as one of the key exponents of minimalism, but it was a label that he strongly rejected. Although he shared many of the principles identified with minimalist art — the use of industrial materials to create abstract works that emphasise the purity of color, form, space and materials — he preferred to describe his own work as ‘the simple expression of complex thought’.

The exhibition, "A Retrospective on Donald Judd," runs through April 25. The museum is open Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Unearthing Assur

Museum of Ancient Near-Eastern Antiquities, Berlin

To mark the 100th anniversary of German excavation in Assur on the Tigris river, today's northern Iraq, the Museum of Ancient Near-Eastern Antiquities is hosting an exhibition on the finds of Assur, including the Palace of Assurs. The ruins were recently added to UNESCO's list of endangered cultural possessions. Between 1903 and 1914, the research of the German excavation team, headed by the architect Walter Andrae, changed European ideas about the ancient civilization, which was earlier determined mainly by stories and traditions of the Old Testament.

The exhibition, " Resurgent Assur - 100 years of Excavation in Assyria," runs through April 25. The museum is open Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Monday.