200 days before 200th birthday, the National Gallery shares details of National Treasures exhibitions across the UK
12 museums and galleries, in each nation of the UK and each region of England, will receive a treasured painting from the National Gallery’s collection, and will be programming exhibitions, events, and working with their local communities to celebrate and learn about their painting. The programme is supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and other donors, and there will be digital content available on Bloomberg Connects.
The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle will be mounting a major exhibition with Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire (1839) as the centrepiece, exploring themes of industry and nostalgia, with education and outreach workshops contributing to an intergenerational project thinking about memory and heritage.
Monet’s The Water Lily Pond (1899) has inspired an exhibition at York Art Gallery, which will bring together key loans alongside collection works, and a large-scale commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan. The radical nature and development of Monet’s work will be explored within the context of his beloved gardens at Giverny, and the rich tradition of 19th-century French open-air painting.
Renoir’s Umbrellas (about 1881-6) at Leicester Museum and Gallery will be the centrepiece of an in-focus gallery alongside a digital installation using sound and animation to bring the artwork to life, taking the viewer on a visual journey through the bustling streets of 1880s Paris, exploring sound and movement.
The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge will display Botticelli’s Venus and Mars (about 1485) in their Octagon Gallery, alongside three major Italian Renaissance works in different media, asking questions about nudity and clothing, setting and viewership, sex and gender.
What will you be like when you’re 34? Brighton Museum and Art Gallery uses Rembrandt’s Self Portrait (1640) from that age to spark a Photography Club project and eventual display, asking that question of 13–16-year-olds in the local area.
The Wilton Diptych (about 1395-9)’s temporary home in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, will be in the England gallery, alongside the museum’s Cloth of Gold, the funeral pall of Henry VII. A short film will introduce the diptych, and a specially produced audio guide will explore its iconography in more depth and how the diptych relates to the artefacts around it. The diptych will also feature in the Family Festival of Art with activities planned in the England Gallery.
Ikon Gallery in Birmingham have commissioned Dublin-based contemporary artist Jesse Jones to make new work in response to Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (about 1615-17). Jones’ exhibition includes sound elements and moving images to create a cinematic space, while she also collaborates with Dublin-based dance company Junk Ensemble on performance tableaux that mirror Gentileschi’s compositions.
Constable’s The Hay Wain (1821) will be the focus of an exhibition of landscapes from 17th-century Dutch to abstraction and conceptual art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The show aims to show how art is responding to the climate crisis, as well as class, LGBTQIA identity, colonialism and migration.
Some of the National Gallery’s collection has travelled to Aberystwyth before, and the National Library of Wales will foreground this connection. Canaletto & Cymru, featuring The Stonemason’s Yard (about 1725), embodies two themes: Wales as a safe haven during the Second World War (using archive footage of the slate mines of Manod, where National Gallery paintings were housed during the war); and the artistic and thematic links between the painting and the topography of Wales, industry and Welsh life.
The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool will be displaying The Rokeby Venus (1647-51) and challenging traditional readings of the painting by setting it alongside unexpected artworks by women and nonbinary artists from the Walker’s collection. These include Ethel Walker’s 'The Spanish Gesture', photographs by René Matic and Zanele Muholi, and Harriet Hosmer’s 'Puck'.
Natural light will bring out the intensity and intimacy of Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus at Ulster Museum, while adjacent galleries will show 20th-century and contemporary art from their collection, including time-based media by Cornelia Parker and Willie Doherty, and sculpture by Dorothy Cross. The painting will form the basis of a wide engagement programme across all ages through the summer of 2024.
Vermeer’s A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal (about 1670-72) will be on display at the National in Edinburgh, amongst the National Galleries of Scotland’s superb collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings. A programme of learning and events will also take place to mark the occasion.
Our national activity continues with our mobile art studio programme, Art Road Trip. From May 2024 to May 2025 this project will journey across the UK working in partnership with local arts organisations and in collaboration with local communities. 'Art Road Trip' champions the creativity of those who have the least access to the visual arts and creative opportunities and together with our partners, we will bring art and ideas inspired by the National Gallery collection, to the heart of their communities.
Supporting 'National Treasures' and the wider NG200 programme, the National Gallery has also announced today details of a match funding commitment, kick-starting the final phase of the fundraising campaign. A small consortium of donors has kindly offered to match every donation made towards our Bicentenary up to the value of £3 million. This means any gift made towards NG200 will now be doubled, helping to cover the final £10 million of the £95 million campaign. Anyone wishing to donate can do so here: nationalgallery.org.uk/support-ng200
Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, says, 'As the National Gallery approaches its third century of bringing people and paintings together, we are thrilled to be sharing 12 of our greatest masterpieces with museums across the UK. Over half of the UK's population will be within one hour's travel of a National Gallery painting and we hope that many, many people will visit our museum partners and participate in their exciting programmes.'
'National Treasures' is supported by
Notes to editors
Prints of all the paintings going on tour as part of National Treasures are available to buy from a dedicated section in our online shop. Visit shop.nationalgallery.org.uk
The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. Admission free. More at nationalgallery.org.uk
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About Garfield Weston Foundation
Established in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making trust which gives away over £90 million a year to charities across the UK. The Weston family are the Trustees and are highly engaged in all aspects of the Foundation. Each year the Foundation gives away its income and donations have continued to grow. Since it was established, it has donated over £1.4 billion, of which over half has been given away in the past 10 years alone. In the most recent financial year the Foundation gave away more than £91 million to over 2,000 charities.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health.
As part of its longstanding commitment to supporting digital innovation in the arts, the Bloomberg Connects app offers free digital guides to cultural organisations around the world. With dynamic content exclusive to each partner organisation, the app provides a range of features including video, audio, and text; expert commentary; and way-finding maps.
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