National Gallery London begins countdown to 200th birthday with Bicentenary celebration

People gathered around front door of National Gallery Trafalgar Square

2022 it seems, is the year of milestones and celebrations.

If Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee wasn’t reason enough to celebrate all that’s wholesome and likeable about the UK, then perhaps the news that the Nation’s favourite Western-style gallery, the National Gallery of Trafalgar Square is turning 200 years old. And they’ve got a lot planned to celebrate it.

The countdown’s on to 10 May 2024 when the institution hits the milestone. What will it do with this time? Celebrate its past and look forward to the future with a year-long festival of art, creativity and imagination which sets the tone for its third century, of course!

And the best bit is everyone’s invited. The celebrations will extend from in-to-outside the Gallery, encouraging visitors to London and locals to participate, view, engage and learn.

“We will make it easier than ever for everyone to share a space with some of the greatest paintings in the world. From seeing a real work in the context of your local museum or gallery to enjoying a dive into the virtual history of the nation’s collection, everyone can find new ways to connect with art,” says the Gallery.

Here’s a run-down of what’s on to look forward to. Dates and more info to come from the National Gallery website

Raphael Pope Julius II
Portrait of Pope Julius II, Raphael, 1511

MORE: See the Raphael exhibition at the National Gallery until 31 July

The Gallery across the nation  

The National Gallery is going national, taking key elements of its 2000+ strong collection to areas all over the UK.
NG200: National Treasures  
12 simultaneous exhibitions opening on the same day – 10 May 2024 – at 12 museums and galleries across the 12 regions of the four nations of the UK, and each centred around a National Treasure. More than half the UK population will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece.

NG200: Art Road Trip 
Two Travelling Art Studios will tour the UK through the year, bringing National Gallery workshops and learning activities to 200 different communities who otherwise would not have ready access to them. 
NG200: Jeremy Deller’s Triumph of Art 
A national public art commission, celebrating 200 years of the National Gallery – showing how festivals are a part of art, culture and civic-life and how art and artists can be catalysts of collaboration and joy. 

Sainsbury stairs National Gallery
Sainsbury Wing staircase

The Gallery across the world  

NG200: 200 Creators 
The Gallery will collaborate with 200 social media creators from across the UK, celebrating 200 years of the Gallery being a beacon of creativity.  

NG200: Behind the Scenes  
A new online film series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the National Gallery creating a continuous micro documentary that engages people with key aspects of the NG200 programme.  

NG200: 200 Paintings for 200 Years 
The Gallery will open the door to the entire history of a painting, in one place, sharing the wealth of the National Gallery’s research, digitally available for everyone, everywhere, anytime.  

NG200: The Virtual Gallery 
We will create a new, large-scale digital Gallery experience for the Bicentenary, available via the Gallery’s website 

Madonna of the Pinks
Madonna of the Pinks, Raphael, 1506-07

The Gallery in London   

NG200: Summer on the Square  
A festival in Trafalgar Square, programmed with and for children, young people and their families to engage new and diverse audiences. Designed to unlock the nation’s creativity and bring the collection to the streets of Westminster. 

NG200:  Van Gogh   
An exhibition featuring a stunning array of the artist’s most important and well-loved works alongside paintings from private collections never seen in public before. The first major Van Gogh show in the UK since 2010, it promises to be the most spectacular EVER and comes exactly 100 years after the Gallery acquired Van Gogh’s Chair and Sunflowers (both painted in 1888).
NG200: 14th century Siena  
The first ever full-scale exhibition of early Sienese art outside Italy. An opportunity to see some of Europe’s earliest and most exquisite paintings ever produced. Be there for the beginning of art history…  

NG200: National Gallery Stories  
The story of the National Gallery and the people who have played a part in its 200-year history, delivered through a series of digital experiences that will create new personal connections with the collection. 

NG200: Welcome 
A suite of capital projects designed by a team led by Selldorf Architects that will benefit all those who visit the Gallery. Sensitive interventions to our building will reshape the National Gallery for its third century and the next generation of visitors. A transformation of the Sainsbury Wing entrance, the public realm and visitor amenities along with a new Members’ House and a new Research Centre, will provide a more inspiring and sustainable experience for our millions of visitors every year. We are also planning to transform our Learning Centre, allowing the Gallery to be far more ambitious with our educational offer and become the nation’s art classroom. 

NG200: The Main Event   
A dramatic redisplay of the entire National Gallery collection. This will be visitor-focussed with a new emphasis on thematic displays, pairings and surprising ‘artistic conversations’ within a broadly chronological framework. 

And finally….  

NG200: Sunflowers Surprise  
The National Gallery is making some very exciting plans for one of our most popular and well-loved paintings – Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888) – as part of the institution’s national anniversary celebrations.

More to come soon….