CURATORS at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford have lined up a series of stunning exhibitions for 2017 including artworks by Picasso, Cézanne and Raphael.

The first major exhibition of the year will be Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France, running at the Beaumont Street institution from February 10 to May 7.

The exhibition will feature works by well-known impressionists including Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne and Degas and Spanish painter Picasso.

The presence of paintings by Paul Cézanne in the exhibition may remind visitors of the theft of one of his works from the museum on New Year's Day 2000.

Auvers-sur-Oise, the £3m oil painting by the French painter, was stolen from the museum in the early hours of January 1, 2000, and has not been recovered.

Cezanne enthusiasts enjoyed the Ashmolean's 2014 exhibition Cezanne and the Modern, which exhibited a number of masterpieces from the Pearlman Collection.

Another highlight will be the summer show Raphael: The Drawings, bringing together 100 works by the Italian Renaissance artist from international collections, which runs from June 1 until September 3.

Ashmolean director Xa Sturgis said: "We’ve got a fantastic programme of exhibitions coming up in 2017.

"We start with Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France which will tell the story of the rise of modernism in works by Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne and many of the great names of French art of the 19th and 20th centuries.

"We are especially looking forward to our summer show, Raphael: The Drawings.

"Bringing together more than 100 works by Raphael from international collections, this is a truly unprecedented and once-in-a lifetime event.

"And in the autumn we’re holding Art and the Rise of World Religions, which looks at Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, the first exhibition to consider the art of the five world religions which spread across continents in the first millennium AD."

The Degas to Picasso exhibition has been sourced from the private family collection of Ursula and Stanley Johnson, with a particular emphasis on works on paper.

The couple began collecting in the 1950s and 1960s when they were graduate students studying art history and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, the city they made their home for more than 10 years.

Mr Johnson said it was not unusual to hear French actress Juliette Gréco singing in her bedroom through an open window across the street or to have lunch with Daniel Kahnweiler – the early champion of Picasso, Braque and the Cubists.

He added: "A particularly memorable afternoon in 1961 was spent having tea with Jean Cocteau after we had simply looked up his number in the phone book – such was the ease of contacting even the most well-known artists and writers in Paris."

The exhibition examining the art of different religions runs from October 19 until February 18, 2018.

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