National Gallery

Delayed National Gallery Masterpieces tour of Japan and Australia set for launch

Image: Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (about 1886) © The National Gallery, London

Following a delay brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak, the National Gallery’s largest ever touring exhibition will begin this week.

Having originally been scheduled to open on 3rd March, Masterpieces from the National Gallery will begin a four-month stint at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo on 18th June.

The exhibition features 60 works including Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 34 (1640), Vermeer’s A Young Woman seated at a Virginal (about 1670–2) and, in a first for Japanese audiences, Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888).

This arsenal of world-renowned artworks spanning 450 years will close in Tokyo on 18th October before heading off to Osaka’s National Museum of Art, where it will run from 3rd November 2020 until 31st January 2021.

Following this second leg in Japan, the exhibition – which will undergo a rebranding as ‘Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London’ – concludes its tour at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. This final show will be open to visitors between 5th March and 14th June 2021.

“We are delighted that our exhibition will finally be seen by visitors in Tokyo, Osaka and Canberra,” says Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, London.

“This is the largest group of works to travel outside the United Kingdom in our history so this is an unprecedented opportunity to share the breadth of our collection and expertise with the world. We hope we will inspire in everyone who comes to the exhibition a passion for these great paintings.”

The exhibition is also accessible online, with a 30-minute tour conducted by National Museum of Western Art curator Yusuke Kawase and Christine Riding, head of the curatorial department at the National Gallery. This digital content has been created by the British Council and is available to view here.