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The National Gallery 2020 spring exhibitions

Issued May 2019


Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age
22 February – 31 May 2020
Admission free


6 April – 26 July 2020
Sainsbury Wing
Admission charge


22 February – 31 May 2020
Ground Floor Galleries
Admission free

The first exhibition exclusively devoted to Dutch artist Nicolaes Maes will open at the National Gallery next February.

With loans from museums and private collections worldwide, 'Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age' will include over thirty-five paintings and drawings by the Dordrecht-born artist who was one of Rembrandt’s most important pupils.

At the heart of the exhibition will be a selection of the intimate scenes of daily life in domestic interiors for which Maes is best known. He was a pioneer of the theme of the eavesdropper; his carefully styled narratives often break the fourth wall, making the viewer a participant in the scene, as characters (often a maid) eavesdrop or point to illicit goings-on.

Also on display will be domestic scenes that are accompanied by an unmistakable, if light-hearted, moral tone showing women spinning, making lace, preparing a meal, or devoutly reading the Bible.

The exhibition starts with the early history scenes Maes painted, mostly on biblical subjects, in the style of Rembrandt when he joined his studio in Amsterdam in about 1650.

Finally, the exhibition will focus on the period from 1673 when Maes settled in Amsterdam and abandoned domestic genre scenes to devote himself almost exclusively to portraits. A group of these lesser-known works will show how he brought a Van Dyckian elegance and swagger to the portraits.

Exhibition organised by the National Gallery, London and the Mauritshuis, The Hague

Exhibition supported by The Thompson Family Charitable Trust

The Sunley exhibition programme is supported by The Bernard Sunley Foundation


6 April – 26 July 2020

Sainsbury Wing

Admission charge

For the first time in the UK, a major monographic exhibition of the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, will open at the National Gallery in April 2020.

At the centre of the exhibition will be the Gallery’s recently acquired Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, which will be displayed alongside other closely related works by Artemisia for the first time since its discovery in 2017.

Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished followers of Caravaggio, whom she must have known personally through her father, Orazio Gentileschi. At a time when women artists were not easily accepted, she was exceptional for becoming the first female member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence and for enjoying a long and successful career, spanning more than forty years.

'Artemisia' will bring together around thirty-five works by the Italian Baroque artist from both public institutions and private collections around the world. The exhibition will present a highly selective survey of Artemisia’s career – from her youthful training in Rome, where she learnt to paint under the guidance of her father, to her formative years in Florence and her return to Rome just a few years later. The exhibition will end with Artemisia’s brief trip to London to join her dying father, and the establishment of her studio in Naples, where she lived for the last 25 years of her life.

Key loans will include Artemisia Gentileschi’s 'Self-Portrait as a Lute Player' (about 1615-18) from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, painted around the same time as the National Gallery’s own painting.

Exhibition supported by


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