If you are wondering what you can do in Cardiff on a rainy day, there are plenty of indoor activities. You could go to an art museum, the best choice being the National Gallery of Cardiff.
Cardiff is the city capital of Wales and it is a charming city with fascinating landscapes and a great personality. Cardiff, which is Caerdydd in Welsh, is Europe’s youngest capital and an inspiring place to visit. If you are wondering what you can do in Cardiff on a rainy day, there are plenty of indoor activities. You could go to an art museum, the best choice being the National Gallery of Cardiff. The National Gallery, or in Welsh Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd, is definitely a place where you can see genuine paintings and works of art in a beautiful setting. The National Gallery in Cardiff’s collection is impressive and you can find great names from the history of art on display.
The National Gallery is a component of the Amgueddfa Cymru, which is the National Museum of Wales.
One very special feature of this museum is that it hosts the national collection of fine and applied art, so it a great place to go and learn about the history of applied art in Wales. The collection contains pieces from as early as 16th century. The museum has international collections from Europe and Britain as well as art from other cultures from all around the globe.
The National Gallery in Cardiff was opened for the public in 1907. However, it reunites the collection from the past Cardiff Museum of Natural History, Arts and Antiques, which originated in 1882. Before its current location, which was established in 1920, the National Gallery was placed in the Cardiff Law Courts, occupying 11 police cells and a corridor. The National Museum in Cardiff contains 15 art galleries that comprise many pieces of art, which are the witnesses of the last 500 years of history in Wales and the whole of Europe as well.
The collection of art is huge and new pieces are acquired on a regular basis. This is made possible by the Derek Williams Trust. There are permanent exhibits as well as temporary ones that attract millions of visitors each year. The temporary exhibitions are partly from the collection of the National Museum of Wales and partly host touring exhibitions.
The National Gallery in Cardiff also contains the Prints and Drawings Study Room, where those interested can see over 28,000 selected works on paper. Within the institution, there are also three conservation studios that take care of the damaged pieces and re-condition them or prevent them from decay. The National Gallery in Cardiff has a framing workshop as well. Here, the frames for the paintings are made ready for display, so that they look impeccable for visitors.
The Welsh landscape has been a genuine source of inspiration for many artists, and Wales has been the home for many talented artists and art collectors. Some of the greatest collections are presently in the possession of the National Museum in Cardiff. One of the notable collectors whose collection is at the Museum is Sir Williams Wynn, who used to order paintings, pieces of furniture and silver items from the top artists from the 18th century. Sir Williams Wynn used to be known as the Welsh Medici due to his generous contributions in the artistic scene. Therefore, an impressive portrait of Sir Williams in Rome is featured in the permanent collection.
The most numerous collection present in the National Museum in Cardiff belonged to the sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. They have gathered notable sculptures and paintings of French artists such as August Rodin, Honore Daumier, Jean Francois Millet, Claude Monet with his Waterlillies, Pierre Auguste Renoir with his The Parisienne and Cézanne. The sisters’ collection also includes a Van Gogh, namely the Rain at Auvers, which was finalized in Van Gogh’s last year of life.
Other collectors who have contributed to the present compilation of art at the Museum were Wilfred Seymour De Winton with his precious porcelain pieces from Europe as well as Ernest Morton Nance, who was a ceramics fan.
The present collection of the National Gallery in Cardiff contains pre-18th century paintings and it records the cultural development of art up till the present time.
The pre-18th century collection includes works by Poussin and Jan van de Chappelle. The Renaissance is represented in this collection by Palma the Elder, Amico Aspertini and Sandro Botticelli.
There are also famous portraits of Oliver Cromwell and Katherine of Berain.
The famous Paul Rubens has four huge cartoons in this Gallery.
Other illustrious Welsh artists include Richard Wilson, with his lovely landscapes, and Thomas Jones. John Gibson also has a place in the gallery, as well as Augustus John and Gwen John. David Jones is sometimes put out on display, however extra care must be taken with his work, as it was done on paper. Today’s Welsh painting scene is represented by Sir Kyffin Williams.
The 20th century art at the National Gallery in Cardiff comprises sculptures by Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill as well as paintings by Stanley Spencer, L. S. Lowry and the expressionist Oskar Kokoschka.
The contemporary art is also on permanent display. You can admire Sigmund Freud’s grandson Lucian Freud’s work, together with the unique style of Francis Bacon. There are paintings of Frank Auerbach, as well as installations by Rachel Whiteread. These artists are presented on rotational display, due to the fact that the collection is much too large.
The National Gallery in Cardiff wants to display and collect the works of Welsh artists, past as well as present. The National Gallery in Cardiff intends to give a full account on the cultural background of Wales and to situate it in European cultural scenery.
The National Gallery in Cardiff is proud to have their present collection and will welcome you with various pieces of art that will amaze and enchant. The Gallery will make sure you will enjoy and understand all the art displayed. You can book a guided tour or equally experience art on your own.
by Susan Ashby