His seductive nudes and bold portraits won Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) admiration all over Europe. Photo: Lucas Cranach the Elder (about 1525) Cupid complaining to Venus, oil on wood, the National Gallery

The best art exhibitions in March 2020—Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain and Cranach at Compton Verney

Plus the Hayward Gallery pays homage to trees
January 24, 2020

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery, 4th March to 17th May

As the destruction of the world’s forests accelerates, our bond with trees grows stronger. This timely exhibition brings together works from the last 50 years that explore our relationship with trees and forests. Robert Longo’s charcoal drawing of a massive tree dramatises the interconnectivity of arboreal life, while a 16-metre-long video portrait of a Finnish spruce by Eija-Liisa Ahtila evokes their potential scale. Resilient trees are shown entwined with human culture, thriving in cities and silently witnessing our ghastliest deeds.

Aubrey Beardsley, Tate Britain, 4th March to 25th May

Tate Britain stages the largest display of the English illustrator’s original drawings in Europe since 1966. Aubrey Beardsley contracted tuberculosis at the age of seven, dying in 1898 aged 25. Death hung over his life and his art. Feverishly prolific, his exuberantly decorative, erotically charged drawings delighted and shocked Victorian society. His advertisements and illustrations epitomised the Decadent movement and, according to Dada painter George Grosz, influenced “practically every modern designer after 1900.”

Cranach: Artist and Innovator, Compton Verney, 14th March to 14th June

His seductive nudes and bold portraits won Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) admiration all over Europe. Compton Verney is examining his achievement, borrowing masterpieces from the National Gallery, Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection to set besides its own vibrant panel, Lot and His Daughters. The exhibition also includes works by artists influenced by Cranach’s distinctive style, including Pablo Picasso, Raqib Shaw, Claire Partington and Michael Landy.