Arts events

On April 13, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will reopen after a 10-year transformation. Some 8,000 works of art will be newly presented in 80 galleries charting the story of Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to today. Among these is an outstanding collection of paintings from the Netherlands’ Golden Age, the highlight of which is Rembrandt’s 1642 masterpiece The Night Watch. There is also a new garden and Asian pavilion. Open 365 days a year. www.rijksmuseum.nl

Art Biennale-the 55th International Art Exhibition will take place in Venice from June 1 to November 24 at the Giardini and the Arsenale, with national pavilions from eight new countries joining the established participants www.labiennale.org

The New Masters Gallery in the newly refurbished Albertinum museum in Dresden, Germany, is showing ‘Constable, Delacroix, Friedrich and Goya: A Shock to the Senses’ from March 16 to July 14, tracing the influence of these Romantic artists on the gene-rations that followed in their wake, with works by Cézanne, Menzel, Manet, Rothko and Richter. www.skd.museum/en/museums-institutions/albertinum

Two major historic rooms that were installed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in about 1930, but have been locked away for some decades, will re-open to the public in May: the dining room from Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire and the drawing room from Newland House, Gloucestershire. Also opening in May is the renovated Dutch and Flemish Gallery. www.mfa.org

‘The Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400-1460′ is at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, from March 23 to August 18 and then at the Louvre, Paris, from September 23 to January 6, 2014 www.palazzostrozzi.org and www.louvre.fr

Celebrating a year of Dutch-Russian relations, ‘Peter the Great: an Inspired Tsar’ will be at the Hermitage Amsterdam from March 9 to September 13. It is a major exhibition devoted to the moderniser of Russia, with historical artefacts, paintings, gold jewellery from the ancient world, weapons and documents based on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in
St Petersburg, Russia. Following on, ‘Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis: Prophets of the Avant-Garde’ will be on show at Hermitage Amsterdam from September 14 to February 28, 2014. www.hermitage.nl/en/contact.htm

‘Picasso and Chicago’ is at the Art Institute of Chicago, celebrat-ing the institute’s own exceptional holdings of works by Picasso, with 250 of his paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, as well as major loans. From February 20 to May 12. www.artic.edu/exhibitions

‘Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925′ is at MoMA, New York, bringing together, a century after this bold new type of art emerged, many of the most influential works in Abstraction’s early history, from Duchamp to Mondrian and Malevich. December 23, 2012-April 15. www.moma.org

‘Bernini: Sculpting in Clay’ is at the Kimbell Art Museum, Forth Worth, Texas, from February 3 to April 14. Starting in New York in 2012, this is the first exhibition of the expressive preliminary studies in clay (bozzetti) and more finished modelli that the outstanding 17th-century sculptor created to work up his ideas. The show includes the most important collection of Bernini terracottas.
www.kimbellart.org

Festivals

At the Jerez Horse Fair (Feria de Caballo), the finest horses of Spain can be seen at the city’s Gonzalo Hontoria Fairgrounds. All the sherry companies will be there, too, with samples to taste. April 28-May 5 www.andalucia.com/festival/jerez-horse-fair.htm

The world’s best cheese festival is due to return to the delightful Piedmont town of Bra during the third weekend of September 2013. Some 150,000 people attend, and they’re expected to gorge on some 400kg (880lb) of Swiss cheese and buy 1,200kg (2,645lb) of mozzarella. www.deliciousitaly.com

Jaipur Literary Festival, India, runs from January 24 to 28 at the historic Diggi Palace Hotel near the old city. Since its inception in 2006, it’s grown into Asia’s largest single literary festival featuring an array of well-known international authors and musical performances. www.goindia.about.com/od/
festivalinformation/ss/Guide-To-The-Jaipur_literature-Festival.htm

The traditional French Pig Festival of La pourcailhade is held on August 11 at Old Market, Trie Sur Baïse, Hautes-Pyrénées, once the country’s largest pig market. The smell of roast pork fills the air; shops sell pig-related produce and there’s a piglet race, a black pudding-eating competition and pig-squealing championships.

The city of Mozart’s birth hosts one of the most important European classical music festivals of the year, the Salzburg Festival, with operas, concerts and dramas. July 19 to September 1
www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/summer

Established in 1995, the Mustique Blues Festival, on the Island of Mustique, St Vincent and Grena-dines, now attracts big names from the world of blues music, although it retains an intimate, friendly feel. All the usual Caribbean culinary delights are also on offer. January 23 to February 6.
www.basilsbar.com/basic.asp?title=blues

Attracting 400,000 people a year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is much more than just a jazz festival-it offers a diverse range of music genres, from gospel and folk to rock and country. Enjoy some of Louisiana’s finest cuisine: Cajun jambalaya, fried chicken, alligator sauce piquante with shrimp and okra gumbo. There are also handicraft and art displays. It’s held at Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751, Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans, from April 26 to May 5.
www.nojazzfest.com

The Salvador de Bahia Carnival purports to be even bigger than the famous Rio Carnàval. The
2013 theme is the guitarra baiana (Bahian guitar), so be prepared to see a lot of them. At the heart
of the festivities are three parades, with musicians playing indigenous Brazilian music on three enormous floats that slowly make their way from the centre of Salvador to the Parca Castro Alves, amid the throng of partying carnival-goers. February 7-13. www.bahia-online.net/Carnival.htm

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Sporting events

The British and Irish Lions’ tour takes place across Australia from June 5 to July 6 after a warm-up game against the Barbarians in Hong Kong. The Lions will play six provincial games and three Test matches against the Australians. www.lionsrugby.com

For many the pinnacle of Test-match cricket, The Ashes tournament, having played in England over the summer, moves to Australia in November-December 2013 for the return leg, culminating in the final test in January 2014. www.ecb.co.uk

The Melbourne Cup is arguably Australia’s most famous and prestigious horse race. Organisers will be hoping to have enticed some of Europe’s best two-mile horses for the AUS$6.2 million prize come November 5. http://melbournecup.com/

The Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s blue-riband race for top middle-distance horses, occurs annually
at Longchamp racecourse, Paris, in the first week of October. This year, it will take place on October 6. www.prixarcdetriomphe.com

The Czech version of the Grand National, the Velka Pardubicka, has occurred annually since 1874 and is a must for any fan of jump racing who wants to experience something a bit different. October 13.www.pardubice-racecourse.z/?lang=en

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