The National Gallery will send some of its best works to the UK to mark its 200th anniversary.
Twelve famous works of art travel across the UK, including Constable’s The He Wayne, Botticelli’s Venus and Mars, and Renoir’s The Umbrellas. Simultaneous exhibitions will open in 12 institutions on 10 May 2024, putting more than half the population in masterpieces in under an hour.
Some paintings have never been borrowed by the gallery before.
The £95m bi-centenary plans include a blockbuster Van Gogh show, the construction of a new digital gallery to make the collection accessible worldwide, a UK road trip to art workshops and the refurbishment of the National Gallery site in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has been commissioned to create a work celebrating 200 years of public art.
There will also be an announcement of a “surprise” at the close of the bicentenary concerning Van Gogh’s Sunflower, one of the National Gallery’s most famous works.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said art is “for all of us to share, not just the privileged few”.
“We’ve lost touch with that particular idea over the years, but it’s something the National Gallery understands, and it’s the central issue which guides me as culture secretary,” she said. “I want everyone to access our world-class art and culture, no matter who they are or where they came from.”