New Year blockbusters

  • 1 January 2016

Make it your resolution to see these five spectacular shows.

1. Botticelli Reimagined, V&A

50% off with a National Art Pass

Today considered a master of the Italian Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli was also one of the most esteemed artists of his time: as well as producing grand altarpieces and mythological paintings, he was summoned by Pope Sixtus IV to create a series of frescoes for the Sistine Chapel. Yet after his death his accomplishments were disregarded and he disappeared from public consciousness for more than 300 years. This exhibition charts the Botticelli story from obscurity to ubiquity, bringing together his masterpieces with paintings, photography and film made in homage to his work over the past 500 years. Artists featured include Rossetti, Magritte and Warhol (5 March until 3 July). A second show at The Courtauld Gallery, meanwhile, showcases a display of 30 of Botticelli’s rarely seen drawings (18 February until 15 May).

2. Vogue 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery

50% off with a National Art Pass

If it hadn't been for shipping restrictions during the First World War, British Vogue might never have existed. Unable to get copies to the UK easily, the publisher Condé Nast decided to commission a special edition for this side of the Atlantic, which was originally intended to reproduce the same content as in the American version. The editor, Elspeth Champcommunal, had bigger ambitions, however. Wishing for Vogue to be 'more than a fashion magazine', she introduced articles on society, culture and sports, as well as health and beauty and travelogues. The National Portrait Gallery celebrates 100 years of the magazine with this exhibition of more than 280 photographic prints, which, as well as featuring fashion models, includes cultural icons such as Matisse, Bacon, Freud, Hockney and Hirst, and Lee Miller's pioneering war reportage (11 February until 22 May).

3. Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art, National Gallery

50% off with a National Art Pass 

'We all paint in Delacroix's language,' Paul Cézanne once declared – an idea that is explored by this exhibition at the National Gallery. Not only did Delacroix's pioneering use of expressive brushstrokes, bold colour and optical effects make him a revolutionary painter, but they were the trigger for a new, 'modern' style of art. He was a direct source of inspiration to the Impressionists - Manet and Renoir would practise by making copies of his work – as well as many of the biggest names of the 20th century, including Van Gogh, Matisse and Kandinsky. Here Delacroix's works are shown in parallel with those of the artists he inspired (17 February until 22 May).

4. Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System, Natural History Museum

50% off with a National Art Pass

Merging scientific process with artistic practice, the photographer Michael Benson takes raw data collected by robots on Nasa and ESA space missions and composes pictures of the landscapes that exist at the far reaches of the solar system. Usually beyond the scope of human experience, these incredible visions of distant space have been made tangibly real by Benson. At this exhibition in January the Natural History Museum presents 77 diverse images alongside enlightening research conducted by its own scientists - for example, that of Dr Joe Michalski, which uses the geological processes that shaped Mars to provide understanding of early life on planet Earth. An original soundtrack composed by Brian Eno adds atmosphere (22 January until 15 May).

5. Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, Royal Academy

Reduced price with a National Art Pass

It is no coincidence that Monet spent his life painting gardens: the artist was a dedicated horticulturist who surrounded his homes with lush meadows, fragrant orchards and exotic plants. He wrote: ‘I owe it to flowers that I became a painter.’ Devoting a quarter of the space to Monet’s work, this show at the Royal Academy positions him as the most important painter of gardens between the 1860s and 1920s. Included are several of his water-lily paintings – notably the Agapanthus Triptych, which is shown for the first time in the UK – as well as the artist’s horticultural books and journals, and receipts that document his plant purchases. Works by Manet, Cézanne, Sargent, Van Gogh, Klimt and Kandinsky also feature, representing the multiplicity of approaches to the genre (30 January until 20 April).

Enjoy 50% off admission price to major exhibitions and free entry to more than 220 museums and galleries with a National Art Pass.

Tags: ExhibitionsWhat to see