Getty Entrance Sculptures
The National Gallery’s Getty Entrance is surmounted with a figure of Victory, framed by another full-length, draped female figure in each of the niches to left and right. This pair of flanking winged figures carry attributes to identify who they are: both clasping a palette and paintbrushes, they symbolise the art of painting fostered inside the building. All three statues are the work of the British neoclassical sculptor Edward Hodges Baily, although he made them not for the National Gallery but for the Marble Arch, a monument intended to celebrate Britain’s defeat of the French in the Napoleonic Wars. When the figures were repurposed to adorn the nation’s public art gallery in a cost-cutting exercise, their original military accoutrements of spear and shield were transformed into more appropriate brushes and palettes.