Pictures Around Cromer, The National Gallery Collection
(2 September 2022 – 30 April 2023)
Across several early mornings at the end of August paintings from the National Gallery are being ‘set free’ in Cromer. The streets around the Gem of the Norfolk Coast are being turned into an open air gallery as 30 paintings are hung outside buildings so that when the locals venture out they come face to face with some of the greatest achievements of Western European art.
The idea is simplicity itself. From Caravaggio to Zurbarán, Monet to Manet and van Gogh to van Huysum, this exciting new exhibition in collaboration with the National Gallery brings life-sized reproductions to the streets of Cromer, providing visitors with a multiplicity of photo opportunities other than the iconic pier. This exhibition is a follow-on from the Bigger Picture which brought an outside exhibition to Cromer during the lockdowns.
And the reason for masterpieces from Caravaggio to Constable vying for position on the streets of Cromer? While the National Gallery welcomes vast numbers, most people don’t have the opportunity to visit the gallery in London, and many are unaware that they display some of the most famous paintings in the world. This exhibition takes the images to the people, extending the reach of one of the most prestigious galleries in the world to the streets of Cromer.
Just as in a gallery, each painting has an information board about the image, linked to a dedicated website. A leaflet map supports the exhibition which adds an extra je ne sais quoi to the streets of Cromer this autumn and winter.
Great works have always inspired – the sixteenth century Grotesque old Woman is said to have inspired Tenniel’s illustration of the Ugly Duchess in Alice in Wonderland, the Arnolfini Portrait inspired some of the Muppets – and the team invite you to be inspired by the works in this exhibition.
Feedback from the Bigger Picture has inspired this exhibition
“…you don’t always get time to go to a gallery – especially living in Cromer – so it’s great to have such realistic reproductions brought to us…”
“…loved the contrast between the euphoria generated by Banksy coming to Cromer and the gentle realisation that Cromer was stuffed with some real great artwork…”
“…the thing about paintings stuck to the outside of buildings in ordinary streets is that they’re so much more inspiring than when you encounter them in a stuffy old gallery…”
“…I’ll meet you by the pregnant green lady…”
“…I love running into Rembrandt when nipping out for a coffee…”
Watch out as the pictures are put in place during the latter part of August ready for the launch on 2nd September.
The exhibition has been made possible through the support of North Norfolk District Council, Cromer Town Council, Norfolk County Council and many local people and businesses. The unique collaboration with the National Gallery has enabled picture licensing and special photographic facilities for selected images as well as invaluable assistance from a dedicated National Touring Exhibitions Manager and a schools liaison facilitator. The project has been made possible by highly skilled Artspace volunteers dedicating hundreds of hours to the project over the past year.