The best online art in July 2020—Young Rembrandt on the BBC and Léon Spilliaert at the RA
Plus British Surrealism revisited at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
Young Rembrandt, BBC iPlayer & ashmolean.org
Simon Schama, in his episode of Museums in Quarantine, explains: “Just when we needed art the most, for a hit of exhilaration, a touch of comfort, gallery doors shut, the lights switched off.” The doors to Young Rembrandt may be shut until at least 4th July, but Schama talks us through it beautifully. We learn how this prodigiously humane, prodigally gifted artist transformed from self-dramatising young pretender to mature practitioner. The Ashmolean’s online exposition will prepare you for the reopening too.
Léon Spilliaert, royalacademy.org.uk
Also mothballed, this first UK monographic exhibition of Spilliaert’s spooky work has been extended until 20th September. Born in Ostend in 1881, Spilliaert was a leading Belgian symbolist, much influenced by Nietzsche and Poe. The RA offers a video tour, without commentary, of the 80-plus works in situ, from his atmospheric landscapes and interiors, to his startling, sleep-deprived self-portraits. Alan Hollinghurst has also written an essay on the website.
British Surrealism: 1783-1952, dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
You have not yet missed this major exhibition. Looking at the distinctive strand in British Surrealism from forerunners William Blake and Henry Fuseli to intriguing 20th-century painters such as John Armstrong and Marion Adams, to mainstream figures like Bacon, Moore and Freud, curator David Boyd Haycock eschews chronology in favour of a theme-driven design. You will have to wait to experience its dream logic, but track down the playful catalogue.