By Natalie Graham | @Caerdydd Editor
COVID-19 saw the culture industry grind to a halt; museums, galleries, and theatres were forced to close their doors and ride on a wave of uncertainty. Although a hint of unpredictability remains in the air, the National Museum Cardiff has opened its doors to the public once more.
As with all industries in the current climate, changes have been made to ensure the museum falls in line with COVID safety guidelines.
National Museum Cardiff is working on reduced hours, opening four days a week: every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday for the foreseeable future. The museum remains free, although you will need to book a ticket online, but you can stay as long as you like.
A one-way system has been installed, taking you firstly around the art galleries, followed by the evolution and wildlife of Wales gallery. There are gallery closures in an attempt to reduce risk from COVID-19, with the Impressionists and photography galleries both inoperable currently.
What should you expect to see?
Of course, the pièce de résistance that is the prehistoric exhibition remains unchanged, dinosaurs, fossils, and gemstones reign supreme. In terms of artwork, it is a smaller exhibition than usual.
See the work of Rembrandt in Religion in Europe 1500-1700: Reformation and Counter-Reformation, an exhibition that encapsulates the protestant reformation of 1517 and the ‘Counter-Reformation’, retaliation by the Catholic Church to eliminate Protestantism.
Art in Italy 1500-1700; depicts the Italian Renaissance. A ‘rebirth’ of classical values in art, literature, and philosophy, its influence was spread across Europe, giving rise to the cultural and scientific ideas that shaped artistic thought for the next 500 years. It was a period of development in Western art, with a stronger emphasis on colour, pattern, and atmosphere.
Whether it is the sultry romantic mountains of North Wales or the utopian coastlines of the South, from as early as the 18th Century Wales has been an alluring prospect to artists.
The Power of the Land: Landscape Painting in Wales exhibition displays landscape paintings both naturalistic and empathetic to the Welsh surroundings, including the work of the ‘father of landscape painting’ Richard Wilson.
The last collection you are sent through is Art in 18th Century Britain.
The most notable artwork in the compilation is that of William Hogarth, who became famous for painting ‘the modern experience’ with a cynical edge. Hogarth’s art creates a social commentary on Britain, the poor, the rich, the immoral, and the selfless are all captured as characters in a pictorial story.
The postponed Becoming Richard Burton exhibition will now open in November, and the Artes Mundi exhibition is set to debut in February 2021.
Despite the National Museum Cardiff opening to the public, the museum still intends to host online events for the coming months, with the knowledge that shielding measures are still largely in place for many across Wales.
But for those anticipating the re-opening of the National Museum Cardiff, they’ll be glad to know their wait is now over.