December 05, 2020

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Exhibitions 2017: The National Gallery will focus on Michelangelo, Van Eyck, Picasso and Richter

Exhibitions 2017: The National Gallery will focus on Michelangelo, Van Eyck, Picasso and Richter

Set your calendars: find here some of the highlights of the upcoming exhibitions.

Sebastiano del Piombo (c. 1485-1547): Pieta'. Viterbo, Museo Civico
Sebastiano del Piombo (c. 1485-1547): Pieta’. Viterbo, Museo Civico

15 March – 25 June 2017

This major exhibition will focus on the extraordinary artistic relationship between Sebastiano del Piombo (about 1485–1547) and Michelangelo (1475–1564) from the 1510s through to the 1540s. Sebastiano arrived in Rome from his native Venice in 1511 and soon came into contact with Michelangelo, who was then finishing his decoration of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. They became friends and collaborated on several works, with Michelangelo providing the younger artist with drawings and ideas. There will be a special focus on two of these collaborations: the Pietà for San Francesco in Viterbo (c.1512–16), an exceptional loan, and the Raising of Lazarus (1517–19), painted for the Cathedral of Narbonne, one of the foundational works in the National Gallery Collection. In 1517, Michelangelo left for Florence only to return in 1534 to paint the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.

1 November 2017 – 18 February 2018

Organised in a chronological manner, Monochrome: Painting in Black and White will present a series of case studies that investigate where and when painting en grisaille was used and to what effect: from early religious works, which stipulated that sacred images for particular locations or seasons in the liturgical calendar should be painted ‘without colour’ to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film. A distinguished and highly varied selection of some sixty painted objects, including works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas by such exceptional artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso and Gerhard Richter, will enable visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting. The exhibition will feature key works from the National Gallery Collection as well as major loans from other international institutions, and will showcase new technical and art-historical research.

ongoing – 26 March 2017

Australia’s Impressionists is the first exhibition in the UK to focus on Impressionist artists from Australia. The exhibition examines their work against the backdrop of the global 19th century. Some forty loans on display at the National Gallery, including important masterpieces by Australia’s leading impressionist artists, many never previously shown in the UK. The exhibition promotes a new, international awareness of the country’s significant and distinctive Impressionist movement. Featuring four major artists of ‘Australian Impressionism’, the exhibition is presenting significant works by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder and John Peter Russell. The last of these rarely exhibited and was only discovered as ‘Australia’s lost Impressionist’ in the second half of the 20th century. Introducing Impressionism as it manifested itself in the unique Australian context, both closely related to yet entirely distinct from its French and British counterparts, the exhibition considers the role Australia’s Impressionists played in defining a new sense of ‘national’ identity as the Australian colonies moved towards Federation in 1901.

Chris Ofili at the National Gallery, London 2012 © The National Gallery, London
Chris Ofili at the National Gallery, London 2012 © The National Gallery, London

26 April – 28 August 2017

The National Gallery presents Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili’s new work, his first foray into the medium of tapestry. Ofili is returning to the National Gallery following the exhibition Titian: Metamorphosis 2012. Commissioned by the Clothworkers’ Company, a Livery Company established in 1528 to oversee the cloth-finishing trade in the City of London, the tapestry will go on permanent display in the Clothworkers’ Hall following the National Gallery’s unveiling and exhibition of the work. Like Rubens, Goya and many artists before him who have engaged with this medium, Ofili has been working closely with master weavers to see his design translated into a hand-woven tapestry. The imagery reflects Ofili’s ongoing interest in classical mythology and contemporary ‘demigods’, together with the stories, magic and colour of the Trinidadian landscape he inhabits.

4 October 2017 – 2 April 2018

John Everett Millais Marianna 1851 Oil on mahogany 59.7 x 49.5 cm Credit line: Tate, London © Tate, London 2015
John Everett Millais Marianna 1851
Oil on mahogany 59.7 x 49.5 cm Tate, London © Tate, London 2015

Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) was one of the beacons by which the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood took its stylistic bearings in forging a radical new style of painting. Acquired by the National Gallery in 1842, the painting informed the Pre-Raphaelites’ belief in empirical observation, their ideas about draughtsmanship, colour and technique, and the ways in which objects in a picture could carry symbolic meaning. The exhibition will bring together for the first time the Arnolfini Portrait with paintings from the Tate collection and loans from other museums, to explore the ways in which Rossetti, Millais, and Holman Hunt, among others, were influenced by the painting in their work. The exhibition will examine early responses to the technique and style of the painting, from the first press notices to the writings of the painter and National Gallery Director, Charles Eastlake, and draws attention to the different ways in which the Pre-Raphaelite artists responded to the Arnolfini Portrait. Their appropriation of the convex mirror device in van Eyck’s painting enabled them to envisage new ways of representing real and illusory space.

Top Image: Jan van Eyck Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife (detail) 1434 Oil on oak 82.2 x 60 cm Credit line:  The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

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