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National Gallery, London, Announces Bicentennial Revamp

The National Gallery in London has revealed details about the NG200 Initiative, which marks the 200 years of the Museum in 2024.

Gabriele Finaldi (Director, National Gallery), said in a detailed statement: “Covid-19 had a catastrophic impact on the arts and culture sector. As we move beyond the pandemic, it’s vital that we build on our strengths and, respond to challenges and opportunities. Underpinning these proposals is a concrete desire to build the foundations of the Gallery’s future, consolidating our role as the nation’s art gallery.”

He further said: “With millions of visitors each year, it’s vital that we futureproof our buildings and reinvigorate the public realm immediately surrounding them. We are delighted to launch the first stage of public consultation and welcome feedback on these early concept designs.” Annabelle Selldorf, the founder of Selldorf Architects, also added: “The entire design team has worked very hard alongside the National Gallery to develop a brief that celebrates the Gallery’s historic setting, whilst also providing a better, more welcoming and inclusive experience for visitors. The development of a new and truly accessible Research Center, open to anyone interested in studying and learning more about art, as well as opening up the spaces of the ground floor and bringing more light into the Sainsbury Wing, are primary examples of this.”

Selldorf Architects are one of the firms that have submitted proposals regarding the revamping of the gallery by its Bicentennial. The particular proposal concerns remodelling of the Sainsbury wing in the gallery and building a new Research centre. The overall goal is to make the gallery updated and ready for the “next 200 years”.

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The National Gallery was opened in 1824 by the British government. Unlike many other prominent galleries of the time, it was not created by nationalizing a private Museum. Instead, it was built to house the 38 paintings that the government acquired from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein