Making Colour

This event was held from 18 June 2014 to 7 September 2014

18 June – 7 September 2014

Sainsbury Wing Exhibition

Daily 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.15pm)
Fridays 10am – 9pm (last admission 8.15pm)

Admission charge

Ticket prices and information (including how to book by phone)

Same Day sales only available from the Ticket Desk in the Sainsbury Wing Foyer

From lapis lazuli to cobalt blue, to dazzling gold and silver – travel through the story of colour with the National Gallery.

‘Making Colour’, the first exhibition of its kind in the UK, invites you on an artistic and scientific voyage of discovery. From sparkling minerals to crushed insects, learn about the surprising materials used to create pigments and the incredible journeys made by artists in their pursuit of new hues.

Span hundreds of years from the early Renaissance to the Impressionist movement as you take in displays of paintings, mineral specimens, textiles, ceramics and glass.

Journey from lapis lazuli to cobalt blue, ancient vermilion to bright cadmium red, through yellow, orange, purple and verdigris to deep green viridian – in a series of colour-themed rooms. Finally, enter a dazzling central room devoted to gold and silver.

‘Making Colour’ is complemented by an interactive display that introduces a new world of contemporary scientific thought on colour. Designed to demonstrate how we perceive and register colour, the experiment will reveal how the eye and brain respond to colour in unexpected ways.

inspires exhibition stamp

‘Making Colour' is part of the 'National Gallery Inspires' programme of exhibitions. Drawn from the National Gallery collection, the exhibitions take a fresh view of National Gallery paintings alongside special loans and feature world-leading research by Gallery experts.

View an accessible version of this slideshow

Generously supported by

Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne

with additional support from:

Terry de Gunzburg


Wellcome Trust

The Tavolozza Foundation - Katrin Bellinger

Dr Nicola Coldstream

Simon & Virginia Robertson

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council supports
scientific research at the National Gallery

Image above © Marcel Christ -