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New light shed on museum masterpieces.

SPECTACULAR Baroque art masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens, Peter Lely and Claude Lorrain have been re-displayed in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery following a two-year research project.

Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) holds one of the finest collections of 17th century European painting in the UK. But that collection has now been re-assessed thanks to a tie-up with a National Gallery Curatorial Traineeship.

Curatorial trainee Helen Hillyard led the project to transform the two galleries containing the 17th century European art, including the creation of family trails and the introduction of interactive features to engage children.

Work from northern Europe will go on display in Gallery 24 with Gallery 25 focusing on southern Europe and it will be the first time French paintings have been displayed as a group within the gallery.

The move will illustrate the Baroque style across diverse art forms, displaying sculptural works next to the paintings as part of a display supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.

The galleries also contain an exceptional collection of Italian Baroque painting, including the only autograph work by Orazio Gentileschi in a public collection in the UK. Also featured is work by famous artists such as Peter Lely, Peter Paul Rubens and Claude Lorrain, as well as Guercino's masterpiece Erminia and the Shepherd.

Ms Hillyard also researched Birmingham Museums' collection of Dutch, Flemish and Italian paintings and sculptures and has overseen the development of new displays and educational resources aimed at young people as part of the project.

Ms Hillyard said: "In spite of the strength of Birmingham Museums' collection, there had previously been little opportunity to undertake new research into the collection, nor review how it might be better interpreted to effectively engage new audiences.

"The partnership with the National Gallery has enhanced the research and documentation around this collection and is now being used to inform a re-display of the two 17th century galleries.

"This will improve the visitor experience of the galleries, transforming the quality of the display, interpretation and educational resources in order to further visitor engagement, particularly amongst families and school groups."


Old Woman and a Boy by <B candlelight, by Matthias Stom

Faith, Hope and Charity, <B Studio of Francesco Albani

Rest on the Flight into Egypt <B , by Orazio Gentileschi

Back on display: St Andrew praying before his Martyrdom, by Carlo Dolci, 1643

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 18, 2015
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