Close analysis of artistic treasures

Two exhibitions, hosted by National Art Museum and Modern Fine Arts Museum, present creativity of European artists
By Victor Mikhailov

The Hungarian Rhapsody. Artists of Szolnok exhibition, from the collection of the State Museum in honour of Jбnos Damjanich, has arrived at the National Art Museum, showing over 30 works by 24 Hungarian artists, created between 1900 and 1970. The State Museum, located in the small and picturesque city of Szolnok, holds a wealth of works, as Szolnok has long been a centre for Hungarian art, gathering artists from near and far.

The exhibition explores Szolnok’s most interesting periods of development, since its establishment over a century ago as the heart of the Hungarian school of landscape and genre painting. “This has long been a special place: a creative workshop for artists from around the world, including from Belarus,” noted Vladimir Prokoptsov, the Director of the National Art Museum of Belarus, speaking at the solemn opening of the exhibition in Minsk.

Among the most valuable of the exhibits are works by such Hungarian fine arts masters as Lбszlу Mednyбnszky, Ferenc Olgyay, Peter Syle, Vilmos Aba-Novбk and Istvбn Zador. All are to go on tour to other Belarusian cities after Minsk audiences have had the chance to enjoy the exhibition.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Fine Arts is hosting Gaspare Manos: Portraits in Сlose Up. Italian Gaspare Manos is a graphic artist and sculptor who combines abstract and figurative art. Taught by Cy Twombly and Anselm Kiefer, his themes centre around people, time, space and place, interpreting our urbanised world — from Asia through Europe to Africa. The Minsk exhibition, for the first time, gathers 50 portraits of well-known 20th century personalities; each tells an intensely personal story, including details which would otherwise remain hidden. Mr. Manos explains, “They possess particular interest and energy.” He believes that such portraits paint a surprising picture of their subjects, revealing aspects of their life and creativity perhaps never before understood. Most of his protagonists are recognised geniuses of the last century. The canvases are from private collections and his own personal archive, created over the last 25 years: from 1987 to 2012. Some were painted in London and Venice, while others hail from Paris — his home today.

Among the subjects of the portraits are worldwide celebrities of art, music, cinema and the business sphere: artists Lucian Freud, Fernando Botero, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, and film industry giants Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The two exhibitions differ greatly, each fascinating in their way and giving us a compelling reason to visit the museums. The creativity of modern European artists is in no doubt, with an ability to change our modern conceptions. The opportunity to view such works face to face should not be missed.
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