Five must-see exhibitions in London this summer

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16 June 2016 | Lifestyle

While the damp weather so far this summer may not be to everyone’s liking, it has provided the perfect excuse to head indoors and discover the delights of London’s museums and art galleries.

Here we give the lowdown on the five new exhibitions not to be missed this summer.

Fire! Fire!

Oil painting of the Great Fire of London seen from Ludgate. Artist unknown. ©Museum of London.

Where?

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN (map)

Nearest Tube

Barbican or St Paul’s (both a 5-minute walk away)

What’s it all about?

Being held to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, this interactive exhibition takes visitors back to that fateful day in 1666 when a huge blaze tore through a quarter of the city.

Using a variety of rarely seen 17th Century artefacts, this exhibition explores the personal stories of those who witnessed the disaster, and charts how London rose from the ashes of devastation to become the city it is today.

What to look out for

A ceramic roof tile discovered in excavations of a house on Botolph Lane destroyed in the blaze, which has blackened, melted and bent in half – damage which indicates that temperatures must have reached a staggering 1500 degrees Celsius!

When does it open?

Fire! Fire! opens on July 23 and runs until 17 April 2017.  Tickets can be booked here.

Georgia O’Keefe

Where?

Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG (map)

Nearest Tube

Southwark (600m away) 

What’s it all about?

Widely recognised as an American art icon and pioneer of 20th Century art, Georgia O’Keefe is best-known for her paintings of magnified flowers, animal skulls and New Mexico desert landscapes.

Despite her reputation, none of O’Keefe’s works are held in UK public collections, so this new exhibition, which brings together over 100 of her most important works, offers a rare opportunity to appreciate the beauty of her paintings outside the US.

What to look out for

‘Jimson Weed / White Flower No 1’ (above), which more than doubled the previous highest price paid for a work of art by a woman when it sold for $44 million (£28 million) at auction in November 2014. The painting also hung in the President's private dining room in the White House during the tenure of George W Bush. 

When does it open?

The exhibition runs from 6 July to 30 October. Tickets can be booked here.        

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds 

Where?

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG (map)

Nearest Tube

Tottenham Court Road (500m) or Holborn (500m) 

What’s it all about?

The stories of two lost cities of ancient Egypt, recently rediscovered after being submerged under the sea for over a thousand years, are brought to life in this fascinating exhibition.

Thonis-Heracleion was one of Egypt’s most important commercial centres for trade with the Mediterranean world, and with Canopus, was a major centre for the worship of the Egyptian Gods.

The wide variety of artefacts on display tells the incredible story of the remarkable relationship between the major ancient civilisations of Egypt and Greece.

What to look out for

A flotilla of 34 papyrus barges, ranging in size from 6 to 67cm, replicas of the boats which were displayed on the sacred waterway linking Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus to celebrate the Mysteries of Osiris, the most popular festival celebrated annually across Egypt. 

When does it open?

Sunken Cities is now open and runs until 27 November. Tickets can be booked here

Painters’ Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck

Alfred Sisley The Flood. Banks of the Seine, Bougival, 1873. Oil on canvas. 50 x 65.5 cm. Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen © Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen / Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Where?

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN (map)

Nearest Tube

Charing Cross

What’s it all about?

This exhibition spans over 500 years of art history and takes its inspiration from works in the National Gallery collection once owned by painters, revealing the private acquisitions of Freud, Matisse, Degas, Leighton, Watts, Lawrence, Reynolds and Van Dyck. 

There will be more than 80 works on display, including Freud’s 2002 ‘Self Portrait Reflection’, Cezanne’s ‘Three Bathers’ and Gainsborough’s ‘Girl with Pigs’.

What to look out for

Three Bathers by Paul Cezanne, which was painted between 1879 and 1882, and is on loan from the Petit Palais Musee des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 

The oil painting was bought by the artist Henri Matisse, who considered the ‘very dense and very complete’ composition to be of great importance. It was not until he donated the work in 1936 that a composition with bathers entered a Western European museum.

When does it open?

Painters’ Paintings opens on 23 June and runs until 4 September. Tickets can be booked here

Above and Beyond: The ultimate interactive flight exhibition

Where?

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, SE10 9NF (map)

Nearest Tube

Cutty Sark (DLR) 

What’s it all about?

Visitors can learn to fly like a bird, design and race their own supersonic jet, take an elevator ride to the edge of space or go on a marathon to Mars at this family-friendly interactive exhibition. 

Through flight simulation, virtual reality and immersive experiences, the exhibition explores the marvels of aerospace innovation and technology.

What to look out for

Don’t miss the chance to take the controls of an advanced aircraft and take it on an exhilarating journey into the sky and beyond. 

When does it open?

Above and Beyond is now open and runs until 29 August. 


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