Creating the modern eye

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Creating the modern eye

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Two new exhibitions show how a Renaissance visionary and a misunderstood Norwegian eccentric changed the course of painting

El Greco, The Opening of the Fifth Seal (1608-14): the bodies are vibrant, with exaggerated curves defining arms, thighs and calves

El Greco and Modernism

Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany. Until 12th August

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye

Tate Modern, 28th June–14th October


This summer, a rare sequence of art events is bringing into focus the origins of European modernist painting. One of them, “The Modern Eye,” an exhibition of works by Edvard Munch opening in late June at Tate Modern, fits into the traditional narrative: the Norwegian is incontrovertibly a harbinger of 20th-century art. Another Munch-connected event has been a high-profile auction of his famous work The Scream in New York.

A third event is more unexpected. In Düsseldorf’s Kunstpalast, situated in an art-deco complex on the east bank of the Rhine, the  exhibition “El Greco and Modernism” is an exuberant, densely intelligent attempt by curator Beat Wismer to

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James Woodall
James Woodall is an arts writer, and author of a biography of Jorge Luis Borges 

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