National Gallery initiative will see Dutch masterpiece pop up in six UK regions this summer

Image: Jan van Huysum (1682 – 1749) Flowers in a Terracotta Vase 1736–7 Oil on canvas 133.5 x 91.5 cm © The National Gallery, London

Reprising the format of 2019’s Artemisia Visits, the National Gallery has confirmed Jan van Huysum’s Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (1736–7) will travel to six surprise locations across the nation this summer.

Over the course of around three months from June onwards, Jan van Huysum Visits will see the 18th century painting appear at non-museum settings in Cornwall, Norfolk, the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Offering up fuel for speculation, National Gallery has revealed that a food bank, community library, covered market, former department store and community centre will be among the unconventional spaces selected to host the artwork.

2019’s Artemisia Visits saw Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria go on display at Glasgow Women’s Library, Pocklington Group Practice in Yorkshire, Newcastle upon Tyne’s Sacred Heart Catholic High School, HM Prison Send, and Wood Street Library in Waltham Forest.

Artemisia Gentileschi Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, about 1615-17 Oil on canvas 71.4 × 69 cm © The National Gallery, London

Central to the touring exhibition format is engagement with local communities, with each stop seeing the National Gallery working closely with both the community venue hosting the painting and a regional museum or gallery.

Each display of van Huysum’s work will explore a different one of six ‘Ways to Wellbeing’: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give, and Care (for the Planet), with the aim of promoting the role art and culture can play in supporting those disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and life in lockdown.

“This astounding, large flower painting will make an unexpected appearance in unexpected venues across the country. I hope it will make people think about art and the beauty of nature, encourage their own creativity and inspire them to visit their own local museum or art collection,” says Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery.