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Two Exhibitions Not to Miss This Summer

For many, summer is a time to explore the great outdoors, soak up the sun, and wear as little clothing as possible. For the rest of us, it is a time to actively avoid sunburn and heat stroke by seeking indoor, air-conditioned activities. If you've already seen all the summer's blockbuster films and frolicked through the Water Cube's indoor water park, it's time to turn to Beijing's myriad museums. Here are two exhibitions you can’t miss in this summer with precious artwork (and arctic temperatures), so you can slip on your most comfortable shoes and enjoy.

Young Woman Seated at a Virginal by Johannes Vermeer (1670-1720)

Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection
Located in the east of Tiananmen Square and the most-visited museum in the world in 2016, the National Art Museum of China is a popular spot not only because it is one of the largest art museums in the world, but also for its numerous and precious collections, covering items from 1.7 million years ago, bronze-ware from the Shang Dynasty, and porcelain from the Qing Dynasty. It is also one of the Beijinger’s favorite museums. After it held the Invention of Louvre exhibit from January to March, and A History of The World in 100 Objects from March to May, the National Museum of China won’t let the summer end empty-handed. Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces is being held until September 3, with 74 paintings from the Leiden Collection. This is the exhibit's first stop on its global tour and the largest display of Dutch Golden Age paintings ever to visit China. These paintings include portraiture, history, and genre paintings, representing the breadth of artistic creation in the Dutch Golden Age. The show includes 11 works of art by Rembrandt – one of the greatest and most widely recognized visual artists in Dutch art history.  

Boy in a Cape and Turban (Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate) by Jan Lievens (1607-1674)

Those paintings range from his iconic masterpieces Minerva in Her Study (part of a series represented at the Prado, Metropolitan and Hermitage museums) and the much-storied Young Girl with a Gold-Trimmed Cloak to the sensational, recent discovery of the Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell), the earliest of the master's signed works. The exhibition also features an extraordinary work by Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, painted on the same bolt of canvas as The Lacemaker; some fine paintings including Boy in a Cape and Turban (Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate) by Rembrandt’s studio-mate in Leiden and friendly rival, Jan Lievens; Hagar and the Angel by Rembrandt's pupil, Carel Fabritius, that remains in private hands; nine significant paintings by Rembrandt’s first and most influential pupil, Gerrit Dou; six of the most significant paintings by one of the most brilliant artists of his generation, Jan Steen; and additional masterpieces that include a jewel-like oval portrait on copper by Frans Hals.

This exhibition will be held at Gallery S8 in the National Art Museum of China until September 3. Entry to the regular exhibitions is free, but this particular show has an admission fee of RMB 50.

From Monet to Soulages: The Road to Modern Western Painting
After the debut of more than 60 of Leonardo da Vinci’s original manuscripts, the Tsinghua University Art Museum has ambitiously organized a new exhibition with a collection of 51 paintings from the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Etienne Métropole, being held until August 31. Focusing on six sections divided by period and style (“A New Approach to Landscapes," “Figures and Portraits in Western Art," “From the Cubist Revolution to Purism," “Surrealism, Dreams and the Unconscious," “The Revival of Material," and “Between Figuration and Abstraction”), this show includes artwork from the beginning of the 19th century and extending to the mid-20th century by renowned artists such as Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Soulages and Jean Dubuffet.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet

This special exhibition will be held until August 31 at exhibition hall 1-2-3 of the Tsinghua University Art Museum, and it’s RMB 60 to get you in.

Photos: National Museum of China (, Tsinghua University Art Museum (

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