Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

From 13th April to 12th June the intertwined artistic lives of husband and wife painters Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo will be explored in an exhibition comprising some twenty-five works as well as photographs and ephemera at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo met in Trieste in the spring of 1944, when Barbarigo was persuaded by a friend to visit an exhibition of paintings by an artist whom she described as ‘a handsome chap’. After this, Ida found that she kept on bumping into him and soon ‘very shyly he plucked up the courage to ask for my telephone number, to call me sometime’. However, romance was soon put on hold. The area was, at the time, occupied by Nazi forces and in October 1944 Music was arrested – reputedly taken as a spy and accused of collaborating with dissidents. He was questioned and attempts were made to recruit him to the SS. When he refused, he was sent to Dachau.

Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca
Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca

Zoran Music (1909-2005) was born in Gorizia on the Italian-Slovenian border into a Mitteleuropa world shaped by the Austro-Hungarian empire. In his youth he spent time in many different countries. The family was evacuated during the First World War to the Austrian province of Styria. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the 1930s, then travelled to Spain in 1935, where he stayed until the civil war broke out, copying works by Goya and El Greco in the museums. He also spent time on the Dalmatian coast, where the rocky hills of the Karst would have a profound influence on his palette.

Music moved to Venice first in 1943 and he returned there in 1945 after his internment in Dachau. He found on his return that he was ‘dazzled by the Venetian light, by the cast sky and the huge horizon around the lagoon. I couldn’t believe I was free and that I could work freely without having to cut up my drawings and hide them under my shirt’. The lifelong effect of his experience of a concentration camp was not immediately obvious in his painting – ‘when I came out of the camp and went back to Venice, I painted pictures that were full of light and happiness and gaiety’. However, the effect was there indirectly as he found, when he came to paint the bare hills around Siena, that ‘these whitish mounds reminded me of the piles of corpses that had been part of everyday life at the camp.’

‘Without Dachau,’ Music felt, ‘I would have been a merely illustrative painter. After Dachau, I had to go to the heart of things.’ Music had drawn secretly during his time in the camp, but only a handful of the 300 drawings he made there survived and it was not until the early 1970s that he approached the subject again. ‘All of a sudden,’ he explained, ‘I had to return to Dachau. What emerged was the series We Are Not the Last. The jumbled landscapes of corpses in these works are harrowing, but also reflect the ‘terrible beauty’ and ‘tragic elegance’ that Music found in such scenes, and which was to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Ida Barbarigo (1925-) was born into a family of Venetian artists stretching back to the 16th century. Her father, Guido Cadorin, was also a successful painter. Barbarigo (although born Ida Cadorin, she later adopted the pseudonym Barbarigo) studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Venice, an experience she found ‘both useful and useless. Those who naturally know how to draw do not need to learn, and those who go to learn are not born artists.’

The couple married in 1949. Although Barbarigo did not believe in marriage or want to start a family, she ‘simply wanted to establish a noble, true bond with a person I truly admired’. They remained happily married, a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, but continued to lead quite separate lives. They maintained separate studios and, until shortly before Music’s death, even separate apartments, meeting to dine together and to discuss the day’s events each evening. Barbarigo was Music’s muse and the subject of many of his paintings; the sharing of ideas and techniques is also clear in their work, but this degree of separateness allowed them both to develop and flourish as artists in their own right.

For the first time, the story of these two connected yet distinct artists, which provides a fascinating reflection on their tumultuous times, will be told in the UK. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title by the curator, Giovanna Dal Bon, available from the Estorick shop for £35.

Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

39a Canonbury Square, London N1

13th April to 12th June 2011

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Karel Škréta Exhibition at National Gallery in Prague

Today the National Gallery in Prague has opened an exhibition celebrating Karel Škréta, his work and era (1610-1674).  The exhibition will be held until 10 April 2011 in the Wallenstein Riding School Gallery and the Prague Castle Riding School Gallery in Prague.

Karel Škréta (1610-1674): His Times and Work will be the largest exhibition ever of the work of this major artist and founder of Baroque painting in Bohemia. In addition to Škréta’s artworks, the exhibition will also present works by Škréta’s son Karel Škréta the Younger, his students and workshop collaborators, selected works by artists whom Škréta met during his stays in Germany and Italy, and paintings that inspired Škréta in his own work.

For more information visit the Prague National Gallery website

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Treasures from Budapest Exhibiton at The Royal Academy

On 25th September an exhibition entitled Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele will open at The Royal Academy.  Running until the 12th of December, the exhibition showcases the breadth and wealth of one of the finest collections in Central Europe. The exhibition comprises works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, with additional key loans from the Hungarian National Gallery.

The exhibition features over 200 works and includes paintings, drawings and sculpture from the early Renaissance to the twentieth century. Selected works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Manet, Monet, Schiele, Gauguin and Picasso are on display, many of which have not previously been shown in the UK.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest houses the state collection of international art works in Hungary and includes the Esterházy collection, acquired by the Hungarian state in 1871. The collection began in the seventeenth century but expanded during the rule of Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy (1765 – 1833) who was responsible for developing the fine collection of Old Master paintings and drawings which will be showcased in the exhibition. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be Raphael’s ‘Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist’, 1508 (known as The Esterházy Madonna).

For more information visit

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Diaghilev & The Golden Age of the Ballet Russes 1909-1929

Serge Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky
Serge Diaghilev & Igor Stravinsky

I was excited to hear that this week on the 25th of September an exhibition on Serge Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929), Серге́й Па́влович Дя́гилев, Serge de Diaghileff, Sergey Dyaguileff and the Ballet Russes will open at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The man was known as a dictator, devil, charlatan, sorcerer, charmer, and it was this unique character and driving ambition which caused a ferment in European culture.  Diaghilev’s greatest achievement was his dance company – the Ballets Russes. Created a century ago, the productions of the Ballets Russes revolutionised early 20th-century arts.

He left few personal possessions, but offers all of us an astonishing legacy of music, dance and art.  I for one shall be booking tickets imminently!

The exhibition runs from 25 September 2010 – 9 January 2011

Adult tickets are priced at £10, concessions are available

To find out more visit

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Forced Journeys – Sayle Gallery Wartime Works Art Exhibition

Martin Bloch's Miracle in the Internment Camp
Martin Bloch’s Miracle in the Internment Camp

Last week the Sayle Gallery on the Isle of Man opened a new exhibition which displays wartime works by German and Austrian internees, marking 70 years since the opening of the internment camps.  The artists were thousands of men and women sent to the island during World War II.  Some were Jewish refugees, arrested by the British as enemy aliens in May 1940.  Others were Germans who had been captured by the British and who expected Hitler to liberate them imminently.

The artists used whatever they had to hand – wallpaper, newspapers, boxes, even a piano; and made anything from collages, to sculptures and paintings.  Martin Bloch’s Miracle in the Interment Camp is probably the most renowned; it shows herrings being transformed into mermaids as five men sit at a table.

The exhibition illustrates that even though the freedom and creation of art was being impeded on the continent, even in the desperate conditions of British internment camps, art lived on and even thrived.

Forced Journeys runs until 23rd May 2010

Sayle Gallery, Villa Marina Colonnade, 1-3 Harris Promenade, Douglas IM1 2HN

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20 Years of Moschino in Moscow

Opening Boutique Parigi February 2003
Opening Boutique Parigi February 2003

This April the famous GUM department store in Moscow, whose long façade faces Red Square, will host “Inside Moschino,” a retrospective following the Italian brand through the years, from its foundation to the present day. A declared celebration of Moschino’s evolution from its beginnings until the S/S 2010 collection, told through its clothes and accessories, ad campaigns and boutique window displays.

Promoted by Bosco dei Ciliegi, Moschino’s exclusive partner in Russia with two boutiques in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg, the exhibition is housed in the central arcade of GUM with an installation that recreates the entire Moschino world. It starts from the Moschino studio spaces in Milan continuing on to the boutiques, in a faithful reproduction of all the rooms and even including a literal recreation of the doors and windows. The installation is open; in fact, there is no barrier separating the Moschino world from its visitors. They are free to observe how Moschino creativity comes to life and can participate in what takes place behind the scenes of the studio. Furthermore, each visitor will be able to be in direct contact with the collections, the ad campaign images and the window displays.

The window display scenes on exhibit will include two of Moschino’s unforgettable installations: “Assi e Ferri da Stiro” [Ironing Boards and Irons], displayed for the first time at the Moschino boutique on Via Durini in Milan in February 1999; and the recent “Lace,” featured in the window of the boutique on Via Sant’Andrea in Milan in February 2010. Also, the “Ape Piaggio” display, created for the opening of the Paris boutique in February 2003, and “Pigeons,” from the windows of Milan’s La Rinascente department store in Piazza Duomo in February 2009.

Assi e ferro da stiro via Durini February 1999
Assi e ferro da stiro via Durini February 1999

At the centre of the exhibition is a selection of clothes and accessories starting from the historical archives to the more recent collections of Moschino, Moschino CheapAndChic and Love Moschino. In fact, the collections and accessories start with “Borsa-casa” (Autumn/Winter 1998-99) and end with two pieces from “Archivio Moschino,” a label offering historical archival pieces re-interpreted with contemporary silhouettes and proportions, making an appearance on the Spring/Summer 2010 runway. All set against a backdrop of ad campaigns for a truly artistic background.

Russia, 109012
г. Москва, Красная площадь, 3
8 (495) 621-57-63

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Vienna Takes Centre Stage

Westbahnhof, Wien,
Westbahnhof, Wien,

Film clips are the stars of the show in an unusual exhibition, `Vienna in Film’, 27 May to 19 September 2010, when the Wien Museum takes a look at Vienna’s role on the silver screen.  The exhibition at the Wien Museum shows the city in cinema clips dating back a century. Changes in the fabric of the city and the way it is perceived are highlighted in sequences from popular and lesser-known movies from the early days of cinema to the present day. The exhibition also takes a fresh and at times critical look at the way some established city landmarks are portrayed.

Clips from Austrian and foreign films form the backbone of the show and make for a refreshing new take on the exhibition format. Clips are sourced from works including Erich von Stroheim’s drama The Wedding March (1928), post-war masterpiece Abenteuer in Wien (1952; directed by Emile Edwin Reinert), Willi Forst’s Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume (1957) and more contemporary works such as Nordrand by Barbara Albert (1999) and Antares by Götz Spielmann (2004).

Vienna in Film
27 May  – 19 September 2010
Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Karlsplatz, 4th district

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Spring Events in Slovenia

Picasso Bullfights. Myth. Eros

There are plenty of events taking place to lure you to Slovenia this year! Check out a schedule for this spring:

21st January – 4th April 2010

Pablo Picasso: Bullfights. Myth. Eros
This Ljubljana exhibition of Picasso’s work brings together 11 series of prints, including a selection of prints from the Suite Vollard series that art critics consider to be one of the 20th century’s most important print series. Bullfights, myths and Eros are recurrent themes in these prints. An accompanying programme of workshops, lectures and film screenings will run alongside the exhibition at Mestna Galerija Ljubljana.

6th – 16th February 2010
50th Annual Kurentovanje Festival, Ptuj
This annual takes place in Slovenia’s oldest city, Ptuj, each spring. Kurenti are figures dressed in sheepskin who go around the town wearing masks, a long red tongue, cow bells, multi-coloured ribbons and sometimes feathers and horns. This is one of Slovenia’s most famous carnivals, now in its fiftieth year, which attracts over 100,000 visitors each year. During the festival, Ptuj is alive with music and dancing, competitions and events, plus opportunities to sample local wines and traditional ‘Ptuj chicken’.

12th March 2010
Pruning of the Old Vine

The pruning of the official world’s oldest vine in Maribor is a ceremonious occasion each spring. The town’s vinedresser carries out the pruning and the vine’s scions are then presented by the Mayor of Maribor to selected representatives of other wine growing regions as a sign of friendship and co-operation.

18th – 21st March 2010
Ski Jumping and Ski Flying World Cup Final

Planica, an alpine valley in the northwest of Slovenia is famous for its ski jumping, being the first place for a jump of over 100 metres to be registered and where the current World Record of 239 metres was set in 2005.

From 18th March, spectators can witness some of the world’s top ski jumpers take on the jump at Planica. Traditionally, around 1,500 of the crowd come armed with accordions to play Planica’s famous theme song.
Standing tickets cost from €3 per child / €10 per adult and seated tickets start from €30.
For further information and ticket reservations visit

3rd April 2010
World Book Day

World Book Day marks the official start of Ljubljana’s year-long tenure as the UNESCO World Book Capital. Ljubljana is the tenth city to boast this distinguished title and a series of book-related events will take place in the city throughout the year, marking the honour.

This is just a selection of the events taking place around Slovenia during 2010. For full listings and further event details, see

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Poland’s Jewish Past in a Photographic Exhibition

A photography exhibition documenting the Jewish influence in Poland gets underway in London at the end of the month.  As part of Polska! Year 2009, the event will draw upon the work of British photographer Chris Schwarz to highlight Poland’s Jewish past as well as the influence Jewish culture has on the country today.

The exhibition at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green, which starts on 30 July and will run until the end of September, follows 12 years of collaborative working between Chris Schwarz and Professor Jonathan Webber, the UNESCO Chair of Jewish and Interfaith Studies at the University of Birmingham.

For more information about the Polish National Tourist Office visit
For more information on Polska! Year visit

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