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“Interior With Egyptian Curtain,’’ part of MFA’s “Matisse in the Studio.”
“Interior With Egyptian Curtain,’’ part of MFA’s “Matisse in the Studio.”

RAFAEL SORIANO: THE ARTIST AS MYSTIC The Cuban painter, who died in 2015, was known for flat geometries until he came to the US, in 1962, where his work became luminous, ethereal, and rooted in contemplation. Jan. 30-June 4. McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2101 Commonwealth Ave. 617-552-8587, www.bc.edu/sites/artmuseum

LEISURE & LUXURY IN THE AGE OF NERO: THE VILLAS OF OPLONTIS NEAR POMPEII Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 C.E. buried the Neapolitan town of Oplontis. Excavated objects tell stories of class, taste, and consumption in ancient Rome. Feb. 3-Aug. 13. Smith College Museum of Art, 20 Elm St., Northampton. 413-585-2760, www.smith.edu/artmuseum

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THE MEDICI’S PAINTER: CARLO DOLCI AND 17th-CENTURY FLORENCE Legendary in his time for his painstaking and radiant paintings, Dolci was later derided by critics as sentimental. This show examines his impressive oeuvre and how aesthetics change across centuries. Feb. 10-July 9. Davis Museum, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley. 781-283-2051, www.thedavis.org

STEVE McQUEEN: ASHES This video installation from the British artist and director of “Twelve Years a Slave” features projections on either side of one screen, each unspooling a chapter in the life of Ashes, a Grenadian fisherman. Feb. 15-July 9. Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

LUMIA: THOMAS WILFRED AND THE ART OF LIGHT Granddaddy to light and space artists such as James Turrell, Wilfred made his first light composition in 1919, and was in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1952 “15 Americans” show alongside Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Feb. 17-July 23. Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., New Haven. 203-432-0600, artgallery.yale.edu

LISTEN HEAR: THE ART OF SOUND Artists activate the Gardner Museum’s galleries, the Back Bay/Fens, and the T’s Ruggles Station with sound installations that prompt nuanced listening. The first week there’s an interactive “Sound Lab.” March 8-Sept. 5. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way. 617-566-1401, www.gardnermuseum.org

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HIGHEST HEAVEN: SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE COLONIAL ART FROM THE ROBERTA AND RICHARD HUBER COLLECTION Religious art helped disseminate Catholicism in colonial South America. This exhibition explores how art served the structures and stories of the faith. March 11-July 9. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 508-799-4406, www.worcesterart.org

EXPANDING ABSTRACTION: NEW ENGLAND WOMEN PAINTERS, 1950-NOW Since 1950, abstraction has evolved beyond the masculine angst of the Abstract Expressionists and women artists have gained ground. This show tracks weighty artists from Maud Morgan to Ann Pibal. April 7-Sept. 17. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org

MATISSE IN THE STUDIO A chocolate pot, an Andalusian vase, and African masks: all personal possessions that Matisse used in his art. Here the art is displayed alongside the objects in an exhibition that investigates how the artist’s collection influenced his artistic evolution. April 9-July 9. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

BOTTICELLI AND THE SEARCH FOR THE DIVINE The first significant Botticelli exhibition in North America features 17 of his paintings, many never seen before in the United States, and traces the path from his resplendent work for the Medicis to his austere later style. April 15-July 9. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

Cate McQuaid


Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.

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