Monochrome: Painting in Black and White

Date and time

1 November 2017 – 18 February 2018

Sainsbury Wing


Admission charge

Explore the tradition of painting in black and white from its beginnings in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and into the 21st century

Painting using predominantly black-and-white pigments has long held a fascination for artists, yet there has never been a major exhibition on the subject.

‘Monochrome’ presents a series of case studies that investigate where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film.

Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and Gerhard Richter (1932–), ‘Monochrome’ encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

This exhibition is organised by the National Gallery in collaboration with Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf.

Image above: Detail from The Introduction of the Cult of Cybele at Rome, 1505–6