Thank you for supporting the National Gallery as a Member. Every gesture of support we receive makes a vital contribution to our work. Life is never static at the Gallery; I am always excited by the vibrant exhibition programme, the arrival of new loans to the collection, and the constantly evolving research and education programmes.
The National Gallery Collection is at the heart of our work and I find it to be a constant source of inspiration. Recognised internationally as outstanding, we are extremely fortunate that it comprises works of such quality and significance. I urge you to see Lord Leighton’s first great work Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence in Room 45. It used to hang high on the Gallery’s main staircase but it can now be seen close up in the newly refurbished Wohl Galleries.
Leighton was 25 when he finished this work in 1855 and he expended a great deal of effort in getting the period detail right (the scene takes place in the 1280s) and in painting the numerous heads. Cimabue and the boy Giotto appear in the centre of the composition and Dante can be seen leaning against the wall at far right. The painting was acquired by Queen Victoria and a century and a half later it is on long-term loan to the Gallery from Her Majesty the Queen.
I too am a Member of the National Gallery, so I know first-hand how much you will enjoy all the benefits of Membership. As a Member you have unlimited access to our expanding programme of exhibitions and related Members’ preview days and to our calendar of Members’ special events.
I do hope you enjoy the forthcoming year of inspiring art and I look forward to seeing you at the Gallery soon.