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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Masterpieces from Britain’s National Gallery Make Historic Hong Kong Debut

CultureArtMasterpieces from Britain's National Gallery Make Historic Hong Kong Debut

n a landmark cultural exchange, the Palace Museum in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District is set to host a groundbreaking exhibition titled “Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery.” This event, which begins on Wednesday and runs until April 11 next year, marks the first time masterpieces from Britain’s National Gallery will be exhibited in Hong Kong.

The exhibition features an exceptional collection of 52 paintings from the 15th to the 20th centuries, showcasing works by 50 renowned artists, including Raphael, Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh. The artworks span various artistic styles, from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, offering a comprehensive overview of Western art history.

Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, the director of the National Gallery, highlighted the significance of this collaboration, which was two years in the making. The exhibition not only showcases the gallery’s extensive collection to an Asian audience but also reflects the gallery’s commitment to fostering international partnerships. The selection of paintings offers a glimpse into the gallery’s rich history and its narrative of Western art.

Hong Kong is the final stop in the exhibition’s Asia tour, following successful shows in Shanghai and Seoul. The Shanghai exhibition set a record as the most popular fee-charging exhibition in the National Gallery’s history, attracting over 420,000 visitors, while the Seoul exhibition drew 360,000 visitors.

Louis Ng Chi-wa, the director of the Palace Museum, anticipates a significant turnout for the Hong Kong exhibition, with an expected 300,000 visitors. He emphasized the museum’s dedication to safeguarding the artworks, ensuring their protection throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition’s unique presentation in Hong Kong, with artworks organized thematically rather than chronologically, allows for a different perspective on the collection. Highlights include Caravaggio’s “Boy Bitten by a Lizard,” Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait at the Age of 63,” and Monet’s “Irises.” Additionally, the Palace Museum has collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to select music that complements the visual experience.

Tickets for the exhibition are priced at HK$150 for standard admission and HK$75 for concessions. The event is supported by the government’s Mega Arts and Cultural Events Fund, which aims to re-establish Hong Kong as a leading cultural destination.

The National Gallery, located in London’s Trafalgar Square, was founded nearly 200 years ago and boasts a collection of around 2,300 paintings, some dating back to the 13th century. This exhibition promises to be a memorable experience for art enthusiasts and visitors in Hong Kong, further enriching the city’s vibrant cultural landscape.


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