National Gallery's Manet coming to the Beaney
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury has been selected by the National Gallery as the first venue to host the first painting – Edouard Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’ – in a three year Masterpiece Tour sponsored by Christie's.
The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s aim to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible, and this much-loved painting from the National Gallery Collection will be coming to the Beaney in January 2014.
Since opening last September, the Beaney has attracted more than 500,000 people, developing a strong regional and local profile. The opportunity to bring this hugely popular National Gallery painting to the local community’s doorstep is being made possible by Christie's generous sponsorship.
Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’, painted about 1867-68, depicts the fatal moment when the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was captured by Mexican revolutionaries and executed alongside two of his generals in 1867.
The exhibition will present Manet’s masterpiece alongside John Opie’s ‘Murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral’, painted about 1793 and a highlight of the Beaney’s collections. Both are dramatic paintings representing the tragic culmination of political power struggles.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive programme of activities and events which is being developed in partnership with both the University of Kent and the local community.
Head of Culture and Enterprise at Canterbury City Council, Janice McGuinness, said: “The Beaney recently won a Sandford Award for Heritage Education and was shortlisted for the Clore Education Award.
“Being chosen to host this wonderful Manet offers a perfect opportunity for the museums service to create an innovative and exciting learning programme for all ages around the exhibition, supporting the National Gallery’s desire to bring enjoyment of Old Masters to a much broader audience.”
Director of Canterbury Museums and Galleries, Joanna Jones, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Beaney has been selected to host Manet’s painting at the start of the National Gallery’s Masterpiece Tour programme. The Beaney is a very fitting venue, given its new role as a regional cultural hub, its wide-ranging audience, and the nature of its permanent collections.
“We will be working in partnership with the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University to enable our wide-ranging audiences to develop and deepen their understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Manet’s painting and related works, including images of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral.”
The exhibition will be on view from 17 January to 16 March 2014