By Ray Smith
Exhibit City News
In partnership with the London Convention Bureau and the nearby Stafford London hotel, the National Gallery showcased its huge range of unique venue hire spaces at IMEX America in Las Vegas Sept. 10-12.
With its prestigious collection of more than 2,300 paintings and unrivaled views across London’s Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is the ideal venue for any event, says Clare Arouche (pictured below, right, with Charlotte Standen), head of events for the National Gallery. She said it was the gallery’s first time exhibiting at IMEX America.
The National Gallery offers guests a truly memorable experience, she says. The venue boasts spaces that accommodate anything from grand gala dinners and international film premieres to intimate supper clubs, all within an iconic and awe-inspiring setting.
At IMEX America, the National Gallery unveiled its “Virgin of the Rocks” exhibit ahead of a ground-breaking new Leonardo da Vinci experience coming this autumn.
New scientific research by the National Gallery into da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks” has expanded our knowledge of the composition he began before abandoning it for the version seen today. The drawings, underneath one of the Gallery’s most popular paintings, have been revealed ahead of a new immersive experience featuring the work—created by 59 Productions—that will open later this year.
An earlier discovery in 2004/05 revealed that the Virgin’s pose had been changed, but there were only hints of the other figures that were assumed to have been part of that first effort. Following months of cutting-edge research using the latest imaging techniques, more information has been revealed regarding the first and second compositions underneath the painting. Now for the first time Leonardo’s initial designs for the angel and the Infant Christ can be seen, showing significant differences to how they look in the finished painting.
In the abandoned composition both figures are positioned higher up, while the angel, facing out, is looking down on the Infant Christ with what appears to be a much tighter embrace. These new images were found because the drawings were made in a material that contained some zinc, so it could be seen in the macro x-ray fluorescence maps showing where this chemical element was present, and also through new infrared and hyperspectral imaging.
“This exhibition represents a fascinating new venture for the National Gallery, combining the most recent technical research on the Virgin of the Rocks with an immersive, enveloping experience, giving visitors the opportunity to explore Leonardo da Vinci’s creative process in making this masterpiece,” says Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery.
Caroline Campbell, director of collections and research, adds: “By its very nature, much of the research we do at the National Gallery takes place in closed studios, laboratories and libraries. This is an exciting opportunity to not only share our innovative findings, but also to invite the public to explore and engage with what we have found.”