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Renoir's 'The Umbrellas' on display in Leicester until September

One of the most famous paintings in the world can be seen here in Leicester.

A picture of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s ‘The Umbrellas’
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s ‘The Umbrellas’

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s ‘The Umbrellas’ – one of the most famous paintings in the world – is displayed in the city as part of UK-wide commemorations marking the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery in London.

I went along twice in one week, once with my partner and then again with my two children (aged nine and 13) deeming it an important addition to our half term plans experiencing this important piece of work right here on our doorstep.

National Treasures: Renoir in Leicester at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery opened to the public on Friday, May 10 but runs until Sunday, September 1, 2024 and is free to attend.

The landmark National Treasures project, which forms part of the National Gallery’s NG200 year-long festival of arts and culture, sees 12 important artworks being loaned to 12 cities around the UK, including Leicester.

Leicester studio Kino Bino created a stunning animation to accompany Renoir's The Umbrellas
Leicester studio Kino Bino created a stunning animation to accompany Renoir's The Umbrellas

Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said: “As the National Gallery approaches its third century of bringing people and paintings together, we are thrilled to be sharing 12 of our greatest masterpieces with museums across the UK.

"Over half of the UK's population will be within one hour's travel of a National Gallery painting and we hope that many, many people will visit our museum partners and participate in their exciting programmes.”

Each of the partner venues are being loaned a masterpiece from the national collection and will curate around it with interpretation, community engagement and events or exhibitions.

The Umbrellas, painted between 1881-86, is considered one of the greatest works of Impressionist art, and shows a busy Paris street scene full of people using umbrellas against the rain.

sign showing an exhibition at Leicester Museum
Niche Journalist Emily Miller visits Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

The painting is the centrepiece of a special in-focus gallery alongside a digital installation featuring a newly commissioned animation from award-winning Leicester studio Kino Bino.

The family-friendly animation ‘Lost Amongst the Umbrellas’ takes viewers on a visual journey through the bustling streets of 1880s Paris and explore the meaning and ideas behind Renoir’s masterpiece. I found this a particularly lovely addition to the experience, with the visuals and accompanying music creating a real atmosphere.

There are also opportunities to experience Renoir’s The Umbrellas without the crowds on a Renoir: Out of Hours Tour and find out more about this iconic artwork alongside highlights of the Leicester Museum and Gallery art collection.

The guided tours are still taking place with tickets still available before the museum open on alternate Saturday mornings at 10am. Tickets cost £15 and must be booked in advance.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It is a huge privilege for Leicester to be loaned such an iconic and important piece of late-19th century art, and we’re excited to be part of the national Gallery’s 200th anniversary celebrations."

Renoir was one of the best-known painters from the Impressionist movement, centred around Paris from the 1860s and 1870s onwards, which also includes artists such as Claude Monet, Eduard Manet and Edgard Degas.

National Treasures: Renoir in Leicester is at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery until Sunday 1 September 2024.

1 Comment

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