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Catalogue entry

Fruits of the Spirit

Art from the Heart

A National Gallery virtual exhibition with nine UK partners:

  • Barnard Castle, The Bowes Museum
  • Birmingham, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  • Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral
  • Dundee, The McManus
  • Leicester, Leicester Museum & Art Gallery
  • London, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum
  • London, The Foundling Museum
  • Plymouth, The Box
  • Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery

5 December 2022–30 April 2023

Supported by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson


  • Preface
    Gabriele Finaldi
  • About this catalogue
    Ayla Lepine
  • Acknowledgements
    Ayla Lepine
  • Introduction
    Ayla Lepine
  • 1: Love
    • 1.1 Titian, The Virgin Suckling the Infant Christ, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 1.2 Ernst Neuschul, Black Mother, Leicester Museum & Art Gallery
      Mark A. Simmons
    • 1.3 Ernst Neuschul, Black Mother: A Crowdsourced Response from Leicester Museum and Art Gallery’s social media channels
  • 2: Joy
    • 2.1 Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 2.2 Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent, Summer Morning II, London, Ben Uri Gallery & Museum
      Sarah McDougall
    • 2.3 Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent, Summer Morning II
      Jasmin Topalusic and Ruanna Brook with members of New Art Studio
  • 3: Peace
    • 3.1 Claude Monet, Water‐Lilies, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 3.2 Winifred Knights, Scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours, Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral
      Sacha Llewellyn
    • 3.3 Winifred Knights, Scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours
      Rishan Tsegay
  • 4: Patience
    • 4.1 Rembrandt van Rijn, Anna and the Blind Tobit, The National Gallery, London
      Susanna Avery‐Quash
    • 4.2 Marguerite Gérard, The Reader, Birmingham, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
      Helen Cobby
    • 4.3 Marguerite Gérard, The Reader
      Jane Nichol and Flora Kay
  • 5: Kindness
    • 5.1 Eugène Delacroix, Ovid among the Scythians, The National Gallery, London
      Susanna Avery‐Quash
    • 5.2 Circle of Louis Finson, Christ Healing the Ear of Malchus, Barnard Castle, The Bowes Museum
      Jordan Booker
    • 5.3 Circle of Louis Finson, Christ Healing the Ear of Malchus
      Graham A. Cutler
  • 6: Generosity
    • 6.1 Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 6.2 Ron Stenberg, Two Auld Wifies, Dundee, The McManus
      Anna Robertson
    • 6.3 Ron Stenberg, Two Auld Wifies, Dundee
      Chris Kelly
  • 7: Faithfulness
    • 7.1 Orazio Gentileschi, The Finding of Moses, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 7.2 Andrea Soldi, Isabella, Duchess of Manchester, London, The Foundling Museum
      Kathleen Palmer
    • 7.3 Andrea Soldi, Isabella, Duchess of Manchester
  • 8: Gentleness
    • 8.1 Thomas Gainsborough, The Painter’s Daughters with a Cat, The National Gallery, London
      Susanna Avery‐Quash
    • 8.2 Lizzie Jones, Couple, Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery
      Jemma Craig
    • 8.3 Lizzie Jones, Couple
      Jemma Craig, Lizzie Jones and some Quaker ‘Friends’ of Southampton
  • 9: Self‐Control
    • 9.1 Joseph Mallord William Turner, Rain, Steam, and Speed ‐ The Great Western Railway, The National Gallery, London
      Ayla Lepine
    • 9.2 Ben Hartley, Devon Lane, Westlake, Plymouth, The Box
      Terah Walkup
    • 9.3 Ben Hartley, Devon Lane, Westlake
      Members of the The Village Hub
  • Epilogue: A Poet’s Response
    • Orazio
      Aviva Dautch


The National Gallery’s Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to develop innovative projects focused on religion and the arts. The Gallery’s ‘Art and Religion’ research strand, which has been evolving for well over a decade under Susanna Avery‐Quash’s guidance, started out by offering a Master’s programme in Christianity and the Arts, run in partnership with King’s College London; it is now well established, popular and flourishing. Keen that the wider public should benefit from each Fellow’s particular theological and art historical expertise, postholders were subsequently asked to develop public‐facing projects which would share their ideas as well as offer new approaches to religion and faith. The results have explored vital questions of belief and the sacred through National Gallery paintings for the benefit of millions of visitors, from all backgrounds and of all faiths or none. Recent projects include the Sin exhibition which, originally a focus exhibition in the Lower Floor galleries in 2021, is now touring the UK, and the ground‐breaking Virtual Reality exhibition, Virtual Veronese, which enabled visitors in spring 2022 to find out about the original setting of Veronese’s The Consecration of Saint Nicholas in a Renaissance chapel in the important abbey church of San Benedetto al Po, near Mantua in Italy.

Fruits of the Spirit: Art from the Heart is another first for the Ahmanson programme. Highlighting paintings as diverse as Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and Claude Monet’s Water‐Lilies from the permanent collection at Trafalgar Square alongside works including German expressionism and contemporary art from a wide range of UK collections, Fruits of the Spirit encourages dialogues through art which span different historical and geographical periods and cultural perspectives. The starting point for Revd Dr Ayla Lepine’s exhibition (she is both a museum curator and an ordained Anglican priest) is a phrase from Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in which he lists nine themes which Christianity promotes as being the most positive and universal ways to live and be. Joy, love, peace and kindness, to name but a few of the exhibition’s nine topics, remain as relevant as ever and crucial for the flourishing and wellbeing of individuals and communities alike, whether they espouse a faith or not.

An ambitious born‐digital project, Fruits of the Spirit focuses on nine pairs of paintings, in each case juxtaposing one picture from the National Gallery’s collection with one from another public collection. Our partners span Britain, extending from the far south-west with The Box in Plymouth to the far north with the McManus in Dundee. With its range of new and established regional partnerships, the freely accessible exhibition combines a virtual gallery and Smartify digital content with an online catalogue. The latter features more than 20 voices, including curators, artists and community groups.

The virtual exhibition built by Moyosa, with help from the Gallery’s digital team, was inspired by my own 2021 Director’s Choice exhibition (, while Fruits of the Spirit Smartify content is part of a growing partnership which has produced insights into our paintings for global audiences on artists from Albrecht Dürer to David Bomberg.

The project is also enhanced by a series of events hosted by the Gallery and by our regional UK partners, underscoring once more how important to us collaborative endeavours are as part of the National Gallery’s ongoing commitment to dynamic outreach and to connecting people with art nationwide. Fruits of the Spirit: Art from the Heart reveals deep expansive moments that unite us in our shared humanity, demonstrating that communities coming together through the arts can create profound experiences of sharing and transformation.

Gabriele Finaldi
Director, The National Gallery

November 2022

About this catalogue

This online born‐digital catalogue accompanies the National Gallery’s virtual exhibition Fruits of the Spirit: Art from the Heart. It is downloadable for free, and any part of the catalogue can be easily accessed or printed. This format maximises the flexible ways in which these texts can be used, enjoyed and shared. Any mistakes or omissions are the editors’ own.

The exhibition has been curated by Ayla Lepine in close collaboration with Susanna Avery‐Quash. Fruits of the Spirit pairs nine paintings from the National Gallery’s collection with nine paintings from regional partner collections from across the UK. The catalogue and virtual exhibition are accompanied by a series of UK‐wide events, a Smartify audioguide and, from November 2022 until April 2023, an in‐person tour through the National Gallery’s collection.

The catalogue has been co‐edited by Ayla Lepine and Susanna Avery‐Quash, with assistance from Isobel Muir as part of her Student Development activity supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The catalogue’s structure places the nine themes of the Fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity and self‐control – in dialogue with the exhibition’s 18 paintings. Each theme features short essays by a National Gallery curator, a UK partnership museum curator, and an individual or group connected with the regional partner. These community voices provide an exciting and dynamic layer within the project and the catalogue structure. Community contributors include art therapists, artists, refugees, people from Quaker, Jewish and Methodist backgrounds, children, and climate change activists.

Additionally, the London‐based Jewish poet Aviva Dautch was commissioned to write a poem responding to the Fruits of the Spirit themes. Dautch is also a participant in the National Gallery’s new Interfaith Sacred Art Forum, which has been focusing on the theme ‘Crossing Borders’. She selected the Fruit of the Spirit’s theme of Faithfulness in relation to Orazio Gentileschi’s The Finding of Moses. Her words connect this painting to the importance of women in scripture and the significance of Artemisia Gentileschi (Orazio’s daughter) as an artist with her own story to tell. Dautch’s poem also makes a profound connection with the Foundling Museum’s contributions to the Faithfulness theme and the biblical account of Moses’ birth. Dautch’s work speaks of faith in uncertain times, the enduring strength of women in painful circumstances, and the enduring qualities of faith, hope and love in every person’s life.


This project has been a labour of love for many, not only at the National Gallery and the nine UK partner institutions but also much further afield. The concept for this exhibition project began in the depths of lockdown in 2021, and the way in which Fruits of the Spirit has been able to grow and flourish is entirely thanks to project’s ethos of collaboration and partnership every step of the way. As Ahmanson Fellow in Art and Religion from July 2021 until July 2022, the opportunities for developing the National Gallery’s well‐established programme of art and religion activities together with King’s College London and St Martin‐in‐the‐Fields have been myriad and I’m truly grateful for colleagues across these places who are so supportive of the Ahmanson Fellowship and its ongoing creative endeavours. The support provided by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson to this and many international projects that amplify the importance of sacred art in society is inspiring and without their vision this exhibition would not have come to fruition.

At the National Gallery, thanks are due first and foremost to Susanna Avery‐Quash, Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting) and in charge of the Gallery’s ‘Art and Religion’ research strand, whose wise guidance, infinite patience and irrepressible energy are always an inspiration. She and I worked together closely on all aspects of the project, from finding partners and discerning the painting pairings to co‐editing the catalogue and developing the virtual gallery and events programme. For the catalogue, Isobel Muir has offered wonderful expertise and support as has, in the final stages, Siobhán Jolley, my successor as Ahmanson Fellow in Art and Religion. For invaluable help with the creation of the accompanying virtual exhibition, Susanna and I are indebted to colleagues from the Dutch digital agency Moyosa: Călin Balmez, Freek van der Helm, Simon Klinkenberg and Joël Kremer. The Gallery’s digital, creative, content, press, marketing, research, learning and curatorial departments are second to none, and Susanna and I are especially delighted to have worked alongside Sophie Ballinger, Lucinda Blaser, Christina Bradstreet, Hugo Brown, Belen Cao, Lawrence Chiles, Chloe Church, Gracie Divall, Karen Eslea, Anne Fay, Catherine Heath, Tracy Jones, Joseph Kendra, Emma Meehan, Anna Murray, Rupert Shepherd and his team (comprising Robert Davies, Jeremy Ottevanger and Cynthia So), John Shevlin and Caroline Smith. Amongst our curatorial colleagues, whose support has been profoundly strong and kind, it is our true pleasure to thank Christine Riding (Head of Department) as well as Maria Alambritis, Caroline Campbell, Emma Capron, Bart Cornelis, Chiara Di Stefano, Susan Foister, Sarah Herring, Daniel Herrmann, Joost Joustra (who as my predecessor has been an insightful guide throughout this project), Laura Llewellyn, Priyesh Mistry, Daniel Ralston, Justine Rinnooy Kan, Chris Riopelle, Letizia Treves, Matthias Wivel and Charlotte Wytema. Conservation Fellow Kendall Francis has also offered time, energy and insight in ways that have truly shaped the project for the better. Susanna and I are also deeply grateful for Gabriele Finaldi’s support and wisdom as this ambitious UK‐wide project took shape. At King’s College London, Ben Quash and Jennifer Sliwka are always a source of encouragement and expertise. In our growing partnership with St Martin‐in‐the‐Fields, the Gallery’s neighbour for nearly two centuries, it has been a pleasure to work with Richard Carter, Jonathan Evens and Sam Wells.

Simultaneous with the development of the Fruits of the Spirit has been the emergence of two new and very exciting National Gallery networks for the study, exploration and celebration of sacred art. Within the Interfaith Sacred Art Forum, which provides a space for dialogue amongst theologians and faith community leaders, Susanna and I are particularly delighted to have learned much from Fatimah Ashrif, Monica Bohm‐Duchen, Aviva Dautch, Paula Gooder, Jamie Hawkey, Deborah Kahn‐Harris, Emily S. Kempson, Hannah Kingston, Natalia‐Nana Lester‐Bush, Jacqueline Nicholls, Melissa Raphael, Jarel Robinson‐Brown, Shahed Saleem and Sybil Sheridan.

In addition to the superb curators and community partners at each of the UK public collections, whose names and biographies are all listed in the catalogue, Susanna and I also grateful to many whose insights and expertise have helped to shape the quality and content of the exhibition and its character. Among them are Jasmine Allen, Thomas Ardill, Caroline Arscott, Charlotte Avery, Fay Ballard, Carol Barrett‐Ford, Natasha Beckles, Molly Boot, Alixe Bovey, Ali Cherri, Lucy Dahlsen, Rosa Goodman and the students of Westminster School, Sheena Ginnings, Peter Ginnings, Jim Harris, Caro Howell, Max Kramer, Jenny Lupa, Arabella Milbank‐Robinson, Tim Naish, Neil MacGregor, Stephen McClatchie, Liam O’Driscoll, Nick Papadopulos, Elizabeth Powell, Chloë Reddaway, Simon Robinson, Chris Rogers, Jill Rowe, Rebecca Salter, Jane Shaw, Jon Stokes, Courtney Terwilliger, Neil Thorogood, Dan Warnke, Robert Wenley, Geoff White, Cressida Williams and Victoria Young. The nine qualities Saint Paul describes in his list of the Fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians are exemplified in these wonderful people.

Ayla Lepine

November 2022

About the authors

Susanna Avery‐Quash

Dr Susanna Avery‐Quash is Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting) at the National Gallery, in charge of pre‐1900 objects in its History Collection, and responsible for activities associated with its research strands, ‘Art and Religion’, ‘Buying, Collecting and Display’, its Women and the Arts Forum, and its Legacies of British Slave Ownership research project, including managing research partnerships, organising conferences and supervising graduate students. She recently published ‘Reanimating sacred art for a secular age: Art and religion at the National Gallery, London’, in Timothy Verdon and Rita Filardi, eds, Museology and Values: Human Dignity in the Twenty‐First Century, Turnhout, 2020.

Ayla Lepine

Revd Dr Ayla Lepine was Ahmanson Fellow in Art and Religion at the National Gallery (2021–2) and is now Associate Rector at St James’s Piccadilly in London. Following her PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, she held fellowships at the Courtauld and Yale, and was Lecturer and Fellow in Art History at the University of Essex. Her publications include co‐edited books on monastic architecture and modern visual culture, as well as articles on art and theology in Architectural History, the Sculpture Journal and British Art Studies. She is a trustee of the UK charity Art and Christianity, a contributor to the Visual Commentary on Scripture and a member of the Visual Arts Committee at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Isobel Muir

Isobel Muir is an AHRC‐funded Collaborative Doctoral Award candidate at the National Gallery and Durham University, supervised by Dr Tom Stammers and Dr Susanna Avery‐Quash. Her project ‘A People in History: Jewish Collectors, Donors and Mediators at the National Gallery, 1824‐1945’ explores the gifts of one of Britain’s smallest ethnic minority groups. She is also administrator of the Francis Haskell Memorial Fund and the John Golding Artistic Trust. She hopes her research into the National Gallery’s history, as it celebrates its bicentenary in 2024, will encourage greater diversity of ideas and donors to the ‘nation’s mantelpiece’. In her spare time, Isobel supports 18 Keys (, a project to end women’s homelessness.

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