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National Gallery Does It Again: A Wonderful Christmas Theme

“The first Christmas gift is gold…” says the National Gallery’s Caroline Campbell as she begins a video inviting visitors to explore the theme of gold in the stories told by art at the London museum. It is yet another creative outreach by the NG to get people interested in art.

The National Gallery has done this before, with stars as last year’s Christmas theme and angels the year before, for example, and I love it. The video series begins with a very short teaser video. and then goes deeper. I can’t cite impact, but even if people only watch part of the series. it’s worth the effort.

After all, “The National Gallery is full of stories about gold”–golden apples, golden fleeces, golden vessels, and more.

The NG’s curators and educators go on in these videos, to talk about the art–the details, the technique used by the artists, the symbolism, the owners, sources of information, conservation equipment used to study the works, and so on. Of course one of the objects discussed is the Wilton diptych (at right), which is a favorite of mine and which makes this all the better.

So far, the NG has posted three videos in this series: Golden Frames; Dressed in Gold; Stories of Gold. They seem to be published on Friday, which means there may be another this week, on Dec. 22. (I won’t be near a computer to find it for you…just go to the National Gallery You-Tube channel.)

This webpage, which lists Christmas events, also has a wonderful feature below–it’s called “Nine Golden Facts,” and it explains in a few sentences such art terms as “water gilding,” “pastiglia,” “shell gold,” and others.

No, it’s not like being in London to see these works in person, but these “trails” could and should be a model for other museums. They teach in an engaging way.

Photos: Courtesy of the National Gallery, London






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