Bristol Museum & Art Gallery selected to host Masterpiece tour

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is delighted to have been selected to host Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 as part of the National Gallery’s Masterpiece Tour.

Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 © National Gallery

Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 © National Gallery, London

Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63, a much-loved work from the National Gallery Collection, is going on tour in January 2016 as the final painting in the three-year Masterpiece Tour, sponsored by Christie’s. The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible.

The masterpiece will be on display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery for six weeks from 21 May 2016. In anticipation of the prestigious loan, the European Old Masters Gallery on the second floor of the museum will undergo a substantial refurbishment from January 2016 and Bristol’s own significant collection of Old Master paintings will be re-displayed. Works by Lukas Cranach, Giovanni Bellini, Jacob van Ruisdael and more will feature alongside Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 in the renovated space.

The Masterpiece Tour will be accompanied by a rich public programme developed in partnership with a number of organisations across Bristol.

Laura Pye, Head of Culture at Bristol City Council, said:
“We are delighted to have been selected to host Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 as part of the National Gallery’s Masterpiece Tour 2016. Bristol’s fine art collection holds an international reputation and this prestigious painting will be a fantastic new attraction that will give both residents and visitors to the city the opportunity to enjoy magnificent art in a beautiful setting.”

Rembrandt painted his Self Portrait at the Age of 63 in the final year of his life and it is one of his last pictures. Rembrandt painted more self-portraits than any other artist of the 17th century. The National Gallery has two of them, separated by nearly thirty years. Rembrandt painted and etched self-portraits throughout his life, but those executed in his final years, in which he presents himself in a reflective mood, are among the most poignant and challenging.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said:
“The National Gallery was created for the benefit of the British public, but we must recognise that a number of visitors may find it difficult to make the journey to London. We hope that the tour of this great Rembrandt masterpiece will reach people who have never visited their national collection or haven’t done so for a long time, and we hope that many of those whom we do reach will then feel inspired to visit or revisit the collection. We are pleased to include these three venues in the final stage of the Masterpiece Tour 2016 and look forward to seeing the different ways in which this much loved portrait will be displayed in each setting.”

The refurbishment of the European Old Masters Gallery, combined with the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, has provided a unique opportunity for corporate Gallery Sponsorship. Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives is looking for a local company to become a Gallery Sponsor in a year-long agreement which will offer a bespoke package of exclusive benefits, including corporate hospitality opportunities and brand recognition. Please contact us for details.

Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 will also appear at Ulster Museum and Abbot Hall Art Gallery.

Masterpiece Tour Dates

Ulster Museum, Belfast  
15 January – 13 March 2016

Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal 
19 March – 15 May 2016

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery    
21 May – 17 July 2016

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