York Art Gallery

October 11 2019 – January 26 2020

The imagination, science and sublime skill behind the creation of an iconic artwork will be the focus of the major new exhibition at York Art Gallery this autumn.

The exhibition takes its inspiration from a late fifteenth-century painting by the Dieric Bouts workshop, Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, on loan from the Bowes Museum. This vibrant painting thematises artistic creation as both divine inspiration and study of the world, and sparks three interconnected themes exploring how artists create images, ranging in time period from the northern Renaissance to the present day.

The displays – featuring significant loans from a wide range of national and regional collections, works drawn from York Art Gallery’s own rich collection as well as new commissions – will consider how artists make images both materially and conceptually, and how they project ideas about their practices back out to the world.

Extending across the Gallery’s three temporary exhibition spaces, this show will take the visitor on a journey through time, discovering the ways that artists design their artworks to affect viewers. The first section will include paintings, drawings and prints by influential past masters such as Dieric Bouts, Hans Memling and Lucas Van Leyden to illuminate artistic creation in Early Netherlandish art.

Meanwhile, the second section takes the Saint Luke painting as an archetype for later representations of artists at work in the studio. It will feature works by more modern artists including Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Leonard Rosoman and Rosalba Carriera. Drawing liberally upon the Gallery’s own collections, the third section examines artworks from the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch and Flemish art, and juxtaposes them with new works they have inspired by contemporary artist Christopher Cook.

This exhibition has been developed as a National Lottery Heritage Fund collaboration with The Bowes Museum and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and is achieved in partnership with the National gallery and the University of York.

The film below is made by York College students in response to the exhibition.