1) Gerhard Richter, Fondation Beyeler, Basel (18 May - 7 September 2014)
Richter is a contemporary artist actively working, now aged 82, but this show looks so impressive and looks at Richter's entire career, I thought it's ok to include it on the Modern and Old Master list. This is the largest show devoted to this celebrated sought-after artist that seems to break a price record with every work coming up in contemporary auctions. The exhibition unites for the first time works conceived as series, cycles and rooms from across his 60-year career. Richter is considered
2) Jacopo Ligozzi, Palazzo Pitti, Florence (27 May - 28 September 2014)
The exhibition looks at the career of this Renaissance master who was a painter in the Medici court in the late 16th/early 17th century. His portraits, history paintings, allegorical works and clothing designs (he was an illustrator as well) are all on display at the Palazzo Pitti until the end of September.
3) Kenneth Clark, Tate Britain, London (20 May - 10 August)
One of the most influential figures in British Art, this show explores Clark's role as patron, art historian and broadcaster. From the artists he championed, to highlights from his collection, it is a great opportunity to learn about Clark.
4) Henri Matisse, The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern, London (17 April - 7 September 2014)
Matisse is a giant name in modern art and this delightful show looks at the final chapter of his career when he began "carving into color," resulting in his series of cut-outs. Matisse was in his late sixties during this time, ill health prevented him from painting so he invented this new medium. The exhibition presents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see many of the artist's works in one place. Already hugely popular, I recommend booking tickets in advance.
5) Art is Therapy, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (25 April - 7 September 2014)
In this unique exhibition, British writer/philosophers Alain de Botton and John Armstrong bring their book with the same title (published in 2013) to life, and show what art can mean to the visitors. About 150 artworks hanging in the museum have a giant Post-it notes that spell out ideas of how to look at art, self-improvement, etc. The notes are not just for the art but cover items in the shop, cafe, cloakroom and the entrance. This show has been receiving really negative responses, some writers even calling Botton "a moron" but I am just curious to see it myself!
6) Pontormo & Rosso Fiorentino, Palazzo Strozzi, (8 March - 20 July 2014)
It has been 2 months since this show opened but I have yet to visit. The show brings two painters who were the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art in the 16th century Italy; Mannerism. Both artists were trained under the great master Andrea del Sarto in Florence but still maintained their unique independent approach. Masterpieces by the artists are brought together for the first time from various collections around the world.
7) El Greco Returns to Toledo, 4th centenary of the artist's death, various locations, Toledo (14 March - 14 June 2014)
El Greco is one of the most original, great painters in the Old Masters history. His style and color palette is so distinctive, even an untrained eye can notice his hand. To commemorate the 4th centenary of this death Toledo, where the artist was most active, has been taken over. There is a comprehensive exhibition at the Museo de Santa Cruz and different locations where the artist's works are preserved in the original contexts for which they were created. Beware the hot weather there, especially since one has to walk between different locations and be prepared for the crowds!