National Portrait Gallery 2.0

London’s National Portrait Gallery has reopened after a comprehensive three-year refurbishment costing $53 million. The project aimed to restore and update the building while increasing public space by about 20 percent.

The renovation involved the creation of a new entrance, the restoration of hidden terrazzo, and the addition of openings for more natural light. The exhibition galleries were also redesigned to showcase the largest collection of portraits in the world, spanning from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The galleries highlight iconic as well as more diverse artworks like tapestries, portraits of current figures like musician Ed Sheeran and the new Prince and Princess of Wales. There is a whole new section on silhouettes that showcases the evolution of this art form over time. Works on paper, which were not previously on view, are now integral to providing a fuller picture of the collection.

The museum has made efforts to increase representation, with a higher percentage of portraits by women in the 20th- and 21st-century galleries and recent acquisitions of works by Black female artists and artists with disabilities.

The curation offers visitors a seamless blend of chronological and thematic groupings of artworks. It also incorporates updated explanatory information and audiovisual content to enhance the visitor experience.

Featured Image: Corinne Day, Kate Moss (2006) on view at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Source: Vouge UK


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