New galleries at the National
February 23 2017
Exciting news - the National Gallery in London is to open its first new gallery in 26 years. 'Gallery B' will, says the NG press release:
[...] add an additional 200 square metres of display space to the main Wilkins Building and opens up the ground floor. This creates a direct public route from the Portico Entrance on Trafalgar Square through to the Pigott Education Centre Entrance on Orange Street (at the rear of the Gallery).
For the first time, visitors can now explore all of the Ground Floor Galleries and progress up to the Main Floor whilst enjoying a continuous viewing experience.
It is intended that these now interconnected galleries will host a wide range of education programme activities along with special displays and exhibitions. The launch of Gallery B also marks the daily opening of Gallery A, previously open every Wednesday afternoon and one Sunday per month.
Gallery B opens with 'Rubens and Rembrandt', a special display of paintings by the Flemish artist Rubens hung opposite works by his Dutch counterpart, Rembrandt, creating a dynamic visual dialogue between these two great 17th-century masters. The innovative hang demonstrates the potential of this new gallery space for exceptional displays that offer different ways of exploring the National Gallery Collection.
Update - a reader writes:
This is not a new gallery at all, just a space which has not been used as one for several years – though I’ve never understood why.
Contrary the claim in the Press Release, all the spaces on the currently designated Level 0 were interconnected: accessing Galley A from the staircase in the Orange Street entrance, one move through the “new” Gallery B to the cruciform galleries C, D, F and G. There was a spiral staircase in the centre of Gallery E taking one to the main floor.
I should also point out that the Gallery has held loan exhibitions in these spaces – the last was of 17thc Venetian Painting in late 1979.