The National Gallery teams up with Ocean Outdoor to put art on the street

David Murphy

The National Gallery has teamed up with Ocean Outdoor to bring some of the most famous and uplifting works of art out from behind the Gallery’s temporarily closed doors to thousands of people the length and breadth of the UK.

In a time when museums and galleries are closed to help contain the spread of coronavirus, opportunities to stand and enjoy the benefits of immersing yourself in a painting are limited. Ocean Outdoor and the National Gallery are working together to bring great art to the streets in locations including: Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Southampton.

Ocean has offered its digital sites to the National Gallery free for the next two weeks in order to display images of seven of the Gallery’s most iconic paintings: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; A Wheatfield, with Cypresses; Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond; van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait; Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières; Vigée Le Brun’s Self Portrait in a Straw Hat; and Rousseau’s Surprised!

The emotional and mental health benefits of art have long been recognised and, through Ocean’s network of screens, the National Gallery hopes that sharing some of the nation’s greatest paintings on digital display can be a positive force for the nation’s wellbeing.

“Our role now, more importantly than ever, is to provide access to some of the world's greatest art to give people inspiration and solace in these difficult times,” said Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery. “Therefore, we are hugely grateful for this generous gesture from Ocean Outdoor that is allowing us to bring the Nation’s Gallery to the nation’s streets and reach even more people."

While the National Gallery’s doors are closed, anyone who enjoys seeing art on the streets of the UK and wants to see more can visit the National Gallery's website for more free art, films, stories and activities.