National Gallery announces plans for year-long festival to celebrate 200th anniversary

National Gallery announces plans for year-long festival to celebrate 200th anniversary

The National Gallery is celebrating its bicentenary in 2024 with a series of programs and events taking place across the UK (The National Gallery, London/PA).

The National Gallery is celebrating its bicentenary in 2024 with a series of programs and events taking place across the UK (The National Gallery, London/PA).

The National Gallery has announced plans to celebrate its 200th anniversary with a year-long festival of “Arts, Creativity and Imagination”.

Founded in 1824, the Trafalgar Square Art Gallery houses a collection of more than 2,300 paintings from the 13th to the 20th centuries.

On May 10, 2024, the National Gallery will celebrate its 200th anniversary and commemorate this occasion with NG200 – an extensive program of events and exhibitions.

The celebrations will stretch across the UK and beyond, with simultaneous exhibition openings in galleries across the country and a variety of online and virtual events taking place around the world.

The National Gallery will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2024 (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

The National Gallery will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2024 (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

As part of NG200, which focuses on “bringing people and paintings together”, 12 simultaneous exhibitions will open in 12 museums and galleries across the four nations of the UK on 10th May 2024. Each exhibition will revolve around a “national treasure”.

More than half of the UK population will be within an hour’s drive of a National Gallery masterpiece, according to the gallery.

The NG200 art road trip will also see two traveling art studios touring the UK throughout 2024, bringing National Gallery workshops and learning activities to 200 communities that might not otherwise have access.

On a global scale, the NG200 will also see a collaboration between 200 social media creators from across the UK to celebrate the gallery’s bicentenary.

The program provides access to the gallery’s works, with NG200: 200 paintings for 200 years opening the door to the entire history of 200 paintings, which will be available digitally.

The National Gallery building in Trafalgar Square, London will host a series of in-person events as part of the celebrations.

During the Summer in the Square, Trafalgar Square hosts a festival programmed with and for children, young people and their families.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers, painted in 1888, is one of the National Gallery's best-known works (The National Gallery, London/PA)

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, painted in 1888, is one of the National Gallery’s best-known works (The National Gallery, London/PA)

There will also be a Van Gogh exhibition showcasing some of the artist’s most popular and influential works, in addition to paintings from private collections that have never been shown to the public.

The exhibition comes exactly 100 years after the National Gallery acquired Van Gogh’s Chair and Sunflowers, both painted in 1888.

The gallery building is undergoing a series of transformations, including a redesign of the Sainsbury Wing and public area, as well as a new members’ house and research center to provide a more inspirational and lasting experience for the galleries and visitors.

The main event of the NG200 celebrations will include a re-exhibition of the National Gallery’s entire collection, which will be visitor-oriented, with a new focus on thematic exhibitions and ‘artistic conversations’.

The total cost of NG200 is £95m and the National Gallery has confirmed it already has pledges of £50m from several of the gallery’s leading supporters and foundations.

The Director of the National Gallery, Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, said: “The National Gallery is the gallery of the nation and we are committed to a belief in the transformative nature of art and it is a vital resource for learning, enjoyment and well-being.

“Although we have a physical presence in London, our audience draws from across the country – and from around the world.

“The NG200 project celebrates the gallery’s bicentenary and combines inspirational and diverse nationwide programs with plans for a range of capital projects.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “The National Gallery is one of the most important cultural institutions in the world and central to Britain’s artistic heritage.

“I’m delighted that the publicly funded museum is honoring this momentous occasion by sharing some of its best works with communities across the UK so people can see the brilliant collection on their doorstep.”

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