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Rome exhibitions: what's on in February 2021

Guide to art exhibitions in Rome's museums and galleries in February 2021.

Museums, palaces and archaeological sites in Rome began reopening on 1 February, following a three-month closure, after the Lazio region was reclassified as a lower-risk 'yellow zone' under Italy's coronavirus restrictions.

Rome's museums are currently open Monday-Friday only, with visiting protocols in place, from wearing masks to keeping social distance, and in most cases advance booking is required. Privately-owned art galleries can open at weekends.

Here is a selection of the best exhibitions on show in Rome during February.

Masakatsu Sashie: Loop

20 Feb-20 March. Dorothy Circus Gallery presents Loop, a solo exhibition by Japanese artist Masakatsu Sashie showcasing a new series of oil paintings that combine traditional techniques while addressing the contemporary. The gallery says that Sashie’s "fantastical suspended panoramas" represent "urban, desolate and post-apocalyptic scenarios with floating microcosms assembled with industrial waste, lighting signs, foil, shutters." Dorothy Circus Gallery, Via dei Pettinari 76, tel. 0668805928, website.

Savinio: Incanto e Mito

Savinio at Palazzo Altemps. Photo Studiozabalik.

8 Feb-13 June. Palazzo Altemps provides the magnificent backdrop to this exhibition of works by Alberto Savinio (1891-1952) an intellectual figure whose multiple interests ranged from music to literature, painting and theatre. Savinio, a brother of Giorgio de Chirico, combined ancient and modern, aesthetics and irony, memory and fantasy in his work which is displayed among the museum's collection of classical sculpture. The show features around 90 paintings and prints created mainly between 1925 and 1931 with a particular focus on the artist's years in Paris. Museo Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Altemps, Piazza di S. Apollinare 46, website.

Quadriennale di Roma

Quadriennale di Roma

The 2020 Quadriennale di Roma, a major showcase of contemporary Italian art in the capital, reopened on 4 February, continuing a tradition begun in Rome in 1931. The 17th edition of the prestigious event, which features the work of 43 artists and offers an "unprecedented perspective" on Italian art, occupies both floors of Palazzo delle Esposizioni on Via Nazionale.


MAXXI reopens with a series of new and extended exhibitions, including the photographic portraits by Giovanni Gastel; senzamargine. Passaggi nell’arte italiana a cavallo del millennio featuring the work of Italian artists such as Luigi Ghirri, Mario Schifano and Jannis Kounellis; and a tribute by the English artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien to the great Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 4A, website.

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces

Torlonia Marbles. Photo Oliver Astrologo.

1 Feb-29 June. The legendary Torlonia Collection, considered among the world's most important private collections of Greek-Roman classical art, has at long last gone on public display in Rome after being hidden away for 70 years. The much-anticipated exhibition was postponed several times last year and then closed due to the covid-19 crisis. Palazzo Caffarelli at the city's Capitoline Museums displays 92 pieces from the revered "collection of collections," which comprises marble, bronze and alabaster statues, busts, bas-reliefs and sarcophagi dating to the ancient Roman era. Capitoline Museums, www.museicapitolini.org.

Pompeii 79 AD: A Roman Story

Pompeii 79 AD: A Roman story

9 Feb-9 May. The Colosseum hosts an "unprecedented" exhibition that examines the history of the long-standing relationship between Rome and Pompeii. The exhibition comprises almost 100 pieces and reconstructs the complex dialogue that linked the two most famous sites in Italian archaeology, from the Second Samnite War to the eruption of 79 AD. The show is displayed on the second tier of the Colosseum and is divided into three large sections – the alliance phase, the Roman colony phase, the decline and end of Pompeii. For visiting details see website.

Nancy Cadogan: Gusto

Nancy Cadogan at Keats-Shelley House

1 Feb-31 May. The Keats-Shelley House presents Gusto, an exhibition of new work commissioned from Nancy Cadogan. The British figurative artist was tasked with creating a series of paintings that celebrated the life and legacy of the Romantic poet John Keats and to mark the 200th anniversary of his death. The Keats-Shelley House describes her body of work as a "deeply thoughtful and considered series of oil paintings, referencing her learned knowledge of Keats’s work and grounded in symbolism and hope for an uncertain future." Piazza di Spagna 26, for visiting details see website.

Josef Koudelka: Radici

Josef Koudelka at Ara Pacis. Amman, Giordania, 2012 © Josef Koudelka Magnum Photos.

1 Feb-16 May. The Ara Pacis Museum dedicates an exhibition to Josef Koudelka, the award-winning Czech photographer and member of the Magnum Photos agency, with more than 100 spectacular images of ancient Roman and Greek heritage. The exhibition highlights Koudelka's photographic journey in search of the roots of our history in the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, website.

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna

Martí Guixé at Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna

GNAM reopens on 1 February with new exhibits and displays including a "context specific" installation by Martí Guixé, at the foot of the building's steps, featuring two emojis, an open lock and an arrow, an invitation to enter the gallery. There are exhibitions, until 8 February, by Spanish artist Mateo Maté and Chinese artist Wang Yancheng. The gallery has also acquired new work by arte povera artist Giovanni Anselmo and shows a monumental sculpture, featuring five marble mirrors, by Anish Kapoor. Viale delle Belle Arti 131, website.

Banksy: A Visual Protest

Banksy at Chiostro del Bramante

1 Feb-11 April. Banksy, the anonymous British street artist, is the subject of an exhibition at Chiostro del Bramante. The show features around 80 works by Banksy – known for satirical and thought-provoking murals – touching on themes close to the artist's heart: war, wealth, poverty, animals, globalisation, consumerism, politics, power and the environment. The exhibited works include celebrated images such as Love is in the Air, Girl with Balloon, Queen Vic, Napalm, and HMV. Chiostro del Bramante, Via Arco della Pace 5, tel. 0668809035, website.

Per Gioco

Per Gioco at Palazzo Braschi

1-28 Feb. Rome displays an exhibition of vintage toys, including doll houses, cars, trains, spinning tops, magic lanterns, clowns and music boxes at Palazzo Braschi. The exhibition focuses on the vintage collection dates mainly from the "golden age of toys," between 1860 and 1930. They include castles with toy soldiers, farms with animals, magic lanterns, sledges, planes and gliders, marbles, kites and rocking horses. Museo di Roma, Piazza Navona 2, website.

Richard Artschwager

Richard Artschwager at Gagosian Rome

14 Jan-7 April. Rome's Gagosian presents an exhibition of works by the American artist Richard Artschwager, made between 1964 and 1987, described as a key period in his career. The Gagosian says that the show demonstrates Artschwager’s ability to “rearrange the structures of perception, bringing the deceptive pictorial world of images into direct confrontation with the concretely human world of objects." Via Francesco Crispi 16, website.

Domenico Bianchi

Domenico Bianchi at Lorcan O'Neill Gallery

16 Dec-27 Feb. Roman artist Domenico Bianchi shows new large-scale works, made using wax and cherry wood, and a group of watercolours on paper, in a solo exhibition at the Lorcan O'Neill Gallery. Bianchi works with materials that interact with light, such as precious metals, fibreglass and polished wood, and uses an ancient Roman technique to manipulate wax as if it were paint. Vicolo dei Catinari 3, website.

For more events and tips on things to do in Rome see our What's On guide.

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