National Gallery 2012 Exhibitions

Issued September 2011

The National Gallery is planning a vibrant calendar of exhibitions in 2012 that will celebrate art and its inspiration in numerous forms and across many centuries. The year’s diary ranges from an exploration of the inspiration of one of the nation’s best-loved artists, J. M. W. Turner, to an exhibition of new works created as part of an exciting Cultural Olympiad London 2012 Festival collaboration with the Royal Opera House.

Visitors to the National Gallery will be able to see works that will be on display in the UK for the first time and to discover a variety of media from oil to photography.

Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude

14 March – 5 June 2012
Sainsbury Wing
Admission Charge

Turner admired Claude most of all the Old Masters and enthused about the quality of light in the artist’s Italian landscapes. On his death, Turner left the National Gallery ‘Dido building Carthage’ and ‘Sun rising through Vapour: Fishermen cleaning and selling Fish’ in his will on condition that they were hung between two pictures by Claude, which he named as ‘The Seaport’ (‘Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba’) and ‘The Mill’ (‘Landscape with the Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca’). This exhibition brings together other closely related works by both artists, many of which share the same theme, giving visitors a chance to appreciate fully the enormous influence Claude’s mastery of light and landscape had on Turner from his formative years until the end of his life.

‘Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude’ is the most in-depth examination to date of Turner’s experience of Claude’s art and includes oils, watercolours and sketchbooks. It also introduces visitors to the story of the Turner Bequest and its importance in the history of the National Gallery, with the final room of the show exhibiting archive material dedicated to this relationship.

‘Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude’ is a National Gallery exhibition created in collaboration with Tate Britain.

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012

11 July – 23 September 2012
Sainsbury Wing
Admission Free
Sponsored by Credit Suisse

‘Metamorphosis: Titian 2012’ brings together a group of specially commissioned works by contemporary artists, poets, choreographers and composers in response to three of Titian’s paintings – ‘Diana and Actaeon’, ‘The Death of Actaeon’ and ‘Diana and Callisto’ – all inspired by Ovid’s poem ‘Metamorphoses’.

British contemporary artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger will design sets for three new ballets at the Royal Opera House. The National Gallery exhibition will showcase their preparatory studies and trace the development of their designs from inception to completion. Renowned choreographers Wayne McGregor, William Tuckett and Christopher Wheeldon will collaborate with the artists to generate new ballets with original music commissioned from leading British composers. In celebration of this occasion, every member of the ballet’s company – over 100 dancers – will participate in the project. A special performance at the Royal Opera House on 16 July 2012 will be simultaneously relayed to the public on a large screen in Trafalgar Square.

In addition, the National Gallery has commissioned a group of well-known poets to explore Ovid’s text and Titian’s mythological paintings, and to respond with their own poems. The exhibition, which celebrates British artistic creativity, is a collaboration between the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House as part of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 Festival.

Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

31 October 2012 – 20 January 2013
Sainsbury Wing
Admission Charge

Today’s photography is part of our own cultural moment, but it also arises from artistic traditions that long predate it. ‘Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present’ is an engaging discussion of historical influences on both early photography of the mid-19th century and contemporary photography.

This ground-breaking exhibition brings together exceptional examples of early and contemporary photography. Works will include those by leading photographers – including Tom Hunter, Thomas Struth, Craigie Horsfield, Sam Taylor-Wood and Beate Gütschow – who trace their sources back to 19th-century photography or, in some cases, even older art historical traditions.

Across 150 years, old and new controversies are part of this story. The exhibition explores the dialogue between the history of art, the art of the 19th century and modern photographers. It also maps the development of photography as it evolved from the 19th century to reassess traditional subjects such as still life, landscape and social portraiture.

The exhibition includes works from the Wilson Centre for Photography and loans from Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Media Museum in Bradford and directly from the artists themselves.

Titian’s First Masterpiece: The Flight into Egypt

4 April – 2 September 2012
Sunley Room
Admission Free

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio; active about 1506; died 1576) enjoyed the patronage of dukes and kings during his long career and continues to be recognised as one of the greatest artists of all time.

‘Titian’s First Masterpiece: The Flight into Egypt’ examines the talented young artist’s creation of this extraordinarily ambitious and innovative work, which is believed to be one of his earliest paintings. The choice of this particular subject allowed Titian to display his precocious skills in landscape painting and reveals an already bold brushwork and exhilarating use of colour, both characteristics that would become signatures of his artistic style.

The painting, which has been generously lent to the Gallery by the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, will go on display after years of skilled restoration. This will be the first time the work has been seen outside Russia since 1768 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased it in Venice.

The exhibition will display this masterpiece alongside contemporary Venetian works both from the National Gallery’s collection and loans from other British collections to demonstrate how Titian adapted ideas from other artists’ work in order to create his sophisticated composition.

Touring Exhibition Programme

Titian’s Diana and Actaeon

2012 also sees the continuation of the National Gallery’s support for regional galleries as Titian’s masterpiece, ‘Diana and Actaeon’, commences a UK tour that takes the work to galleries where it has never been seen before.

The painting will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 13 January – 26 February; Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, 3 March – 15 April; National Museum Cardiff, 19 April – 17 June; and will return to the National Gallery for the exhibition ‘Metamorphosis: Titian 2012’.

Further information

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