5 Must-See Artworks Currently on View in London

In celebration of the summer season, London’s historic and avant-garde museums are exhibiting several significant shows focusing on a range of time periods from the Renaissance all the way up to present day. Featuring work by Hans Holbein, Rembrandt, Alberto Giacometti and more, these five exhibitions are each anchored by one truly sensational work that touches hearts and minds across the ages. Without further ado, here are the city’s must-see artworks currently on display.

KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI: UNDER THE WAVE OFF KANAGAWA (THE GREAT WAVE) AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

Location: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK

Dates: Through August 13, 2017

Why We Picked It: As one of Japan’s most recognizable artists and source of inspiration for Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) is currently the subject of solo retrospective at the British Museum. The show traces Hokusai’s career through the last 30 years of his long and prolific life and highlights his seminal woodcut, “The Great Wave,” a part of a print series documenting views of Mt. Fuji and other nature scenes. These works demonstrate his skill in capturing the mystery and power of the native landscape.

Under the wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave) from Thirty-six views of Mt Fuji. Colour woodblock, 1831. Image via the British Museum

ALBERTO GIACOMETTI: THE DOG AT THE TATE MODERN

Location: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG, UK

Dates: Through September 10, 2017

Why We Picked It: The Tate Modern is currently exhibiting over 250 works by celebrated Swiss sculptor, painter, and draughtsman Alberto Giacometti, including several rarely-seen plasters and drawings spanning the artist’s career of over five decades. Viewers will get the unique opportunity to gaze upon countless of Giacometti’s distinctive emaciated, elongated forms, especially 1951’s heart wrenching bronze titled, “The Dog.”
The Dog. Bronze Sculpture, (1951) Image via the Tate Modern

REMBRANDT: SELF PORTRAIT AT THE AGE OF 34 AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY

Location: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

Dates: Through August 6, 2017

Why We Picked It: This stately portrait of the Dutch draughtsman reveals the artist at the height of his career. Noble and proud, he stares directly at the viewer, dons elaborate finery, and declares himself to be one of the greatest painters of the age. This portrait is the centerpiece of  this current National Gallery exhibition also featuring the renowned Flemish master Rubens.

Self Portrait at the Age of 34. Oil on Canvas, 1640. Image via ColourLex

BENEDICT DREW: THE TRICKLE-DOWN SYNDROME AT THE WHITECHAPEL GALLERY

Location: 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX, UK

Dates: Through September 10, 2017

Why We Picked It: Known for his video, sculpture, and multimedia installations, Benedict Drew tackles social and political inequality in his latest exhibition, The Trickle-Down Syndrome at the iconic Whitechapel Gallery. Inspired by the dreamscapes of Max Ernst, here Drew offers several brilliantly-colored banners accompanied by an audio narrative to create an all-encompassing viewer experience.

Production image for The Trickle-Down Syndrome (detail). Drawing, 2017. Image via the Whitechapel Gallery

HANS HOLBEIN: WOMAN WEARING A WHITE HEADDRESS AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Location: St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE, UK

Dates: Through October 22, 2017

Why We Picked It: As part of the much-anticipated group exhibition titled “The Encounter,” The National Portrait Gallery is currently presenting an entire series of gems from the Renaissance and Baroque ages. On top of masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, this exhibition draws from Her Majesty Elizabeth II’s collection to feature this poignant drawing of an anonymous woman portrayed by famed royal court artist Hans Holbein. Her haunting stare echoes across time and space.   

Woman Wearing a White Headdress” Drawing, c 1532-43. Image via the National Portrait Gallery