Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

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Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

Date and time

31 October 2012 – 20 January 2013

Sainsbury Wing

Admission charge

View Old Master painting through a new lens with the National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography.

The exhibition explores early photography from the mid-19th century and the most exciting contemporary photographs, alongside historical painting. It takes a provocative look at how photographers use fine art traditions, including Old Master painting, to explore and justify the possibilities of their art.

Work by leading photographers such as Martin Parr, Craigie Horsfield, Sam Taylor-Wood, Richard Billingham, Julia Margaret Cameron and Gustave Le Gray will be on display beside key paintings from the National Gallery collection.

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About the exhibition

Paintings and early and contemporary photographs are presented together according to traditional genres such as portraiture, still life, nudes and landscape, highlighting the universality of the themes and influences across all the works, both past and present.

Drawing attention to one particular and rich strand of photography’s history – that of the influence and inspiration of historical painting – the exhibition features pictures by the greatest British and French photographers alongside work by an international array of contemporary artists. It includes new photography and video specially commissioned for the exhibition and on public display for the first time, plus works rarely seen in the UK.

Exceptionally, three ‘interventions’ of contemporary photographs by Richard Billingham, Craigie Horsfield and Richard Learoyd will be displayed within the Gallery’s collection, juxtaposed with great 19th-century paintings by Constable, Degas and Ingres.

Works on display

The show includes almost 90 photographs alongside selected paintings from the National Gallery’s collection. Key photographs will come from the Wilson Centre for Photography, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Media Museum in Bradford, Fundació La Caixa in Spain, and direct from the photographers themselves.

Travelling exhibition

The exhibition will travel to CaixaForum Barcelona (21 February 2013 – 19 May 2013) and CaixaForum Madrid (18 June 2013 – 15 September 2013).

With generous support from The John Kobal Foundation, Walter and Barbara Marais, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, The Priestley Family and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Image above: detail from Richard Learoyd, 'Man with Octopus Tattoo II', 2011. © Richard Learoyd, courtesy McKee Gallery, New York

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