L'immensité 1869

Gustave Courbet (1819–1877)

Paintings Collection

The year 2019 will be an exciting time for both popular and highbrow culture.

From the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus movement, the 200th anniversary since Gustave Courbet's birth, to the rumoured release of Beyoncé’s seventh solo album (with a new music video allegedly filmed in Rome’s Colosseum), we will at least have some entertaining distractions from the relentless political mess.

Here are some of the highlights, told through works on Art UK.


50 years since the last Beatles concert

The Beatles 1962

The Beatles 1962 1963–1968

Peter Blake (b.1932)

Pallant House Gallery

On 30th January 1969, The Beatles performed for the last time together, playing an impromptu gig on the rooftop of the Apple Record offices in London. Unfortunately, the gig was cut short by police. They all appear to be very tanned in this work by iconic pop artist Peter Blake (b.1932), who also designed the cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Later this year, Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis' musical comedy inspired by the Beatles will be released, starring Lily James and, rather strangely, Ed Sheeran.


200th anniversary of John Ruskin

John Ruskin (1819–1900)

John Ruskin (1819–1900) c.1841

Thomas Richmond II (1802–1874)

Ruskin Library and Research Centre for Culture, Landscape and the Environment, Lancaster University

John Ruskin (1819–1900) was a leading art critic at the end of the Victorian era, who championed the careers of modern painters, including the Pre-RaphaelitesJ. M. W. Turner and architects of the Gothic revival.

To mark the 200th anniversary since his birth, there will be an exhibition at Two Temple Place.

350th anniversary of Rembrandt's death

Self Portrait, Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet

Self Portrait, Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet 1635

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) (and studio possibly)

National Trust, Buckland Abbey

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) died 350 years ago. To commemorate the genius Dutch Master, The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will be hosting a whole year’s worth of exhibitions.

Release of Velvet Buzzsaw

If you appreciated Ruben Östlund’s film The Square, you may also enjoy Velvet Buzzsaw, another artworld satire film due to be released in February. Directed by Dan Gilroy, this psycho-thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette and John Malkovich.  


Estuary of the Nalón, Asturias

Estuary of the Nalón, Asturias

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923)

Southampton City Art Gallery

Sorolla at The National Gallery

In March, The National Gallery will unveil the UK’s first exhibition on the overlooked Spanish Impressionist painter, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923).

Van Gogh at Tate Britain

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear 1889

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

In March, Tate Britain will open a major exhibition on Netherlandish painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890), considering how the Dutch artist was inspired by Britain.


100th anniversary of Bauhaus

Swinging (Schaukeln)

Swinging (Schaukeln) 1925

Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)


On 1st April 1919, Walter Gropius (1883–1969) founded the Bauhaus in Germany, an avant-garde movement with utopian aspirations to radically reform painting, sculpture, design and architecture. Artists like Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), Paul Klee (1879–1940) and László Moholy–Nagy (1895–1946) taught at the Bauhaus school.

Edvard Munch at the British Museum

An exhibition on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863–1944) will open at the British Museum in April. Should be a scream.


500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) (copy after)

Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

To commemorate 500 years since the death of Italian Renaissance Master Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), the Royal Collection will exhibit drawings by the Florentine painter, architect and inventor.

200th anniversary of Queen Victoria

24th May marks 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), who reigned Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901. A temporary exhibition about her life will open at Kensington Palace, where she was raised as a child. 

Release of Rocketman

Elton John ('On the throne')

Elton John ('On the throne') 1978

Suzi Malin (b.1949)

National Portrait Gallery, London

A new biopic about pop legend Elton John, Rocketman, will be released on 31st Ma­­y – directed by the creator of Bohemian Rhapsody and the writer of Billy Elliot.


200th anniversary of Gustave Courbet

The Wave

The Wave c.1869

Gustave Courbet (1819–1877)

National Galleries of Scotland

The prolific creator of L’Origine du Monde (1866), French painter Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) was born 200 years ago on 10th June 1819 in Ornans, France, now home to the Musée Courbet, which will be celebrating the artist's bicentenary. Many of his works can be seen in The National Gallery.

Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern  


Gardening 1908

Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962)


The works of Russian avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962) will be shown in her largest retrospective to date at Tate Modern.  


50th anniversary since the first moon landing  

Rising Moon

Rising Moon 1942

Mary Potter (1900–1981)

Ferens Art Gallery

To commemorate the landing of Apollo 11 on 20th July 1969, there will be a Moon Festival in London.

The Lion King remake

In July, a live-action remake of The Lion King will be released, featuring Donald Glover, Beyoncé and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film will be accompanied with music by Hans Zimmer.

And for those of you who can’t get enough of Stranger Things, series three will hit the screens (Netflix) on 4th July.


250th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821)

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) early 19th C

François Gérard (1770–1837) (after)

English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House

Europe’s favourite political tyrant, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) was born on 15th August in 1769. Napoleon ruled France as Emperor between 1804 to 1814, and then again in 1815. During this time he led France through the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) and was finally defeated by Lord Admiral Nelson (1758–1805) at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Wellington had this portrait of Napoleon in his house, possibly a smug reminder of the British victory. 

200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre

Four years after the Battle of Waterloo, there was a huge spike of political radicalism in Britain, with demands for parliamentary reform and suffrage. A meeting in St Peter’s Field, Manchester, involving up to 80,000 people, ended in a bloody massacre, ironically named the Peterloo Massacre (1819). 

Last year, director Mike Leigh released Peterloo. (Note: the film is two and a half hours long).


450th anniversary since the death of Pieter Bruegel the elder

The Blind Leading the Blind

The Blind Leading the Blind

Pieter Bruegel the elder (c.1525–1569) (after)

Wellcome Collection

Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the elder (c.1529–1569) died on 9th September 1569. For more information about Bruegel read our story from last year.

William Blake at Tate Britain

Legendary British artist and poet William Blake (1757–1827) will be the centre of a major exhibition at Tate Britain.


'Pre-Raphaelite Sisters' exhibition

The Martyr (Nazuraea)

The Martyr (Nazuraea) 1880

Evelyn De Morgan (1855–1919)

Southwark Art Collection

The National Portrait Gallery will open the first-ever exhibition exploring the female Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Evelyn de Morgan (1855–1919), Effie Millas (1828–1897), Elizabeth Siddal (1829–1862) and Joanna Wells (1831–1861), amongst others.


Checkpoint Alpha

Checkpoint Alpha 1973

M. C. Leach

Royal Military Police Museum

30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Before the Berlin Wall was demolished in November 1989, Western allies named the crossing point between East and West Germany ‘Checkpoint Charlie.’


Introduction of Lady Astor as the First Woman MP

Introduction of Lady Astor as the First Woman MP

Charles Sims (1873–1928)

The Box, Plymouth

100th anniversary since the first female MP took her seat

Nancy Astor (1879–1964) was the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat, joining the House of Commons in 1919. She represented Plymouth Sutton, replacing her husband, Waldorf Astor. The first woman elected was Constance Markievicz (1868–1927) in 1918, an Irish Republican and member of Sinn Fein. She did not take her seat, as she refused to take the oath.

100th anniversary of Auguste Renoir’s death  

The Gust of Wind

The Gust of Wind c.1872

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)

The Fitzwilliam Museum

French Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) died on 3rd December 1919. The house where he died in Cagnes-sur-Mer is now the Renoir Museum.

Lydia Figes, Content Creator at Art UK