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Culture

What's on in Europe's Museums

A Greek storms London; Berlin busts Scandinavian design myths; Brecht visits Vienna; German collagist Hanna Höch is on view in Madrid; and Peruvian artefacts shine in Milan

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El Greco's The Agony in the Garden, coming soon to London

El Greco Retrospective

National Gallery, London

El Greco (1541-1614) created a unique style of painting that influenced artists such as Cézanne and Picasso hundreds of years later. The artist, whose real name is Domenikos Theotokopoulos, painted attenuated figures in cool, bright colors, lending intensity to his religious themes. This is the first major El Greco exhibit in the U.K. It runs the gamut from his early paintings of icons, enormous religious scenes painted for Spain's King Philip II, and intimate portraits of his closest friends.

The exhibit "El Greco" runs from February 11 to May 23. The National Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.; Wednesdays until 9 p.m.

Scandinavian design – Beyond Myths

Museum of Applied Art, Berlin

The look of the postwar Western world has in large part been determined by Scandinavian designers. Their works and ideas still have a powerful resonance today. The exhibition -- organized by the Council of Ministers of the Scandinavian Countries, which includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden -- comprises some 250 pieces, of which 150 are from the 20th century. The show highlights the successes of Scandinavian design, but also opens a discussion on the myths and clichés surrounding it. Criteria formed by the Italian philosopher Italo Calvino are useful current measures of good design: lightness and speed, precision and recognition, versatility and lastingness.

The exhibition "Scandinavian Design – Beyond Myths" runs through February 29, 2004. The Museum of Applied Art in Berlin is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Experimental Theater in Berlin in the 1920s

Austrian Theater Museum, Vienna

Ausstellungstipps 06.02.2004 Experimentelles Theater in Berlin der 20er

Experimental, highly political, revolutionary: for Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator, theater should be all of these things, and more. The exhibition at the Austrian Theater Museum highlights the wave of experimentation that took place on the stage between World War I and World War II. Production photographs, model sets, rare film footage and sound clips all document the creation of that era's theater and its epoch-making productions.

"Brecht & Piscator" runs through April 12. The Austrian Theater Museum in Vienna is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Hannah Höch Retrospective

Queen Sofia Museum (MNCARS), Madrid

German collage artist Hannah Höch (1889-1978) was a major figure in the Dada movement and, together with Raoul Hausmann, a pioneer of photomontage. Her varied output holds some of the keys to the 20th century. In addition, the artist left behind an enormous body of work in the form of paintings and drawings. Nearly 200 of her artworks are currently on view in Madrid's Queen Sofia Museum (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, or MNCARS.) The exhibit contains some 100 works that highlight the multidisciplinary character of the artist. Her passion for experimentation expressed the rifts and conflicts characterizing the last century. However, she labored for a long time in the shadow of other artists before gaining recognition, late in her life.

The exhibit Hanna Hoch runs until April 11. Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. through 9 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Pre-Columbian Art in Peru

Castello Sforzesco, Milan

For the first time, one of world's most important collections of

Ausstellung zur Kunst der Inka in Mailand

pre-Columbian Peruvian art is open to the public. The Federico Balzarotti collection can currently be seen in Milan Under the title "The Culture of Peru from Chavin to the Incas," at the Castello Sforzesco. The collection was bequeathed to Milan in 2001. The exhibit includes some 200 objects, highlighting the culture of diverse Peruvian tribes, including the Cupinisque, Paracas, Moche and Nasca, from 900 B.C. until 1532 A.D.

The exhibit is open until May 2. The Castello Sforzesco is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

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