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Exhibitions
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Pablo Picasso, Reading, 1953
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 Exhibitions

- Reading - Pictures of Reading - The Reading of Pictures

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Reading
Pictures of Reading - The Reading of Pictures

17 June - 23 September 2018

The history of reading is as old as the history of writing and, as a consequence, depictions of figures reading in the visual arts date back to antiquity and beyond. In European painting, book illuminations and sculpture the subject of reading was initially anchored in a biblical context and orientated around religious texts. In the Netherlands this was increasingly influenced by worldly values following its rise to a maritime trading power, with the first pictures of figures reading 'in private' emerging in the course of the 17th century.

The privacy and intimacy constituted through reading that separate the reader from the outside world as if screened by a mysterious, invisible division, condition the atmosphere in pictures of readers which became a major motif in European painting from the 18th century onwards. These depictions of reading 'in private' are the subject of the exhibition planned, with an emphasis on the 20th century.

However, the exhibition does not just focus on pictures of readers but - taking works by Cy Twombly, Henri Michaux and Jean Dubuffet as examples - also on the reading of pictures. Similar to these artists, Paul Klee created the underlying structure of many of his pictures with writing or characters. He compared writing and the act of writing to the process of creating pictures and the reception of pictures - a seminal and new concept for the art of the 20th century.

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Pablo Picasso, Reading, 1953
Oil on wood
Museum Berggruen, Berlin