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Gold Christmas at the National Gallery

Gold shines brightest in the National Gallery during the festive season. This year, visitors are invited to celebrate the holidays by exploring the scintillating presence of gold throughout the collection.

Celebrate the festive season at the National Gallery and take part in gold-themed activities and events.

17 November 2017 – 1 January 2018 

Gold shines brightest in the National Gallery during the festive season. This year, visitors are invited to celebrate the holidays by exploring the scintillating presence of gold throughout the collection. View early Renaissance pictures with backgrounds of real gold leaf. In the low-light conditions these backgrounds shimmer. Their surfaces could be further embellished with patterns, punches, and stamps. Gold leaf continues throughout the gallery used for eye-catching frames. How many can you find?

See how artists captured the magical effects of gold in oil paint in the depiction of golden objects: glittering jewellery, extravagant fabrics, and golden gifts all feature in the stories told by our paintings.

Special labels displayed from 1 December will adorn the walls of the National Gallery to highlight the GOLDEN facts about specific paintings, and a series of online films will provide a more in-depth exploration of the use of gold in art.

Get Social
From 17 November until 1 January 2018, visitors are invited to share their favourite gold artwork on social media using the hashtag #ArtGold. Don’t forget to tag us on instagram (@walk_london) for a repost and twitter (@guided_walks) for a retweet.

Snapchat users have not been forgotten. When at the National Gallery they can give their selfies an ‘OldMaster’ sparkle with a National Gallery inspired gold-frame filter.

Special Seasonal Talks and Workshops at the National Gallery

Free lunchtime talks

Gossaert’s The Adoration of the Kings
Wednesday 6 December. Location: Room 14. Time: 1–1.30pm

Crivelli’s The Annunciation with Saint Emidius
Wednesday 13 December. Location: Room 59. Time: 1–1.30pm

Poussin’s The Adoration of the Golden Calf
Wednesday 20 December. Location: Room 29. Time: 1–1.30pm

Life drawing salon: Tutored life drawing classes exploring different themes.

The Wilton Diptych and patterned gold
Friday 8 December. Location: Pigott Education Centre (Rooms 2&3). Time: 6.30–8.30pm
Tickets: £16/£15 conc./£14 Members
Experiment with gold leaf and gold-coloured drawing tools in a life drawing workshop inspired by The Wilton Diptych.

 

Workshops

Heavenly gold: The Wilton Diptych in intaglio
Saturday 16 December
Location: Pigott Education Centre (Rooms 2&3). Time: 10.30am-1pm
Tickets: £78/£68 conc./£62 Members
Discover the traditional intaglio printmaking technique of drypoint as you design and make your own shimmering, golden prints inspired by The Wilton Diptych. Combining close observation of the painting with your own creative ideas, you will translate motifs from the painting into print using etching needles, ink, liquid gold, and a printing press. No experience necessary. Limited to 12 places.

 

Family holiday events over Christmas

How’s my halo?
Wednesday 27 – Friday 29 December. Location: Meet in Room 59. Time: 11am-1pm & 2-4pm (drop-in) Create your own magnificent halo inspired by Cione’s Adoring Saints altarpiece and other radiating crowns found in the Gallery’s Renaissance paintings.

 

Adults

Talk and draw
Friday 8 and 15 December.
Location: Room 52. Time: 1–2pm.
Jacopo di Cione and workshop, The Coronation of the Virgin: Central Main Tier Panel Spaces are limited to 40 people on a first-come, first-served basis.

Image Credit: NG1 Sebastiano del Piombo incorporating designs by Michelangelo about 1485 – 1547. The Raising of Lazarus 1517-19. Oil on canvas, transferred from wood 381 x 289.6 cm © The National Gallery, London

Hazel Baker is a qualified CIGA Tour Guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.

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London History Podcast:
December 18, 2020
35: A Tudor Christmas
September 18, 2020
22: The Havering Hoard

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