GOLD: Christmas at the National Gallery – Stories of Gold

Winter has arrived in Vancouver, with the announcement of a snowfall warning that promises more will come.  Christmas lights have appeared in neighbouring buildings, their brightness muted by the white flurries.  Even so, they remind me that we have entered the festive season of December, a month that brings us many celebrations.

Please join me at the National Gallery, London.

To mark the month of December, ChasingART will travel virtually to The National Gallery to view Stories of Gold. This marvelous collection of videos came out in 2017 to celebrate this special time of year.

This first video answers the question:  How do artists convey stories of gold? 


Vincenzo Foppa The Adoration of the Kings perhaps about 1500 Oil on poplar, 238.8 x 210.8 cm Bought, 1863 NG729 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG729

Throughout history, gold has been celebrated in paintings as a symbol of wealth, power, and the divine. The National Gallery in London contains some of the world’s greatest works of art featuring gold – from Renaissance masterpieces to modern-day gems. At Christmas time, the Gallery is transformed by a shimmering array of gold artwork, making it a must-see destination. The Gallery’s collection includes some of the most iconic pieces featuring gold, such as The Adoration of the Kings by Vincenzo Foppa (1475), The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari by Girolamo Macchietti (around 1500) and The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1564). These works of art capture the beauty and glitter of gold in a dramatic and captivating way. The use of gold in paintings is powerful in conveying a sense of joy, festivity, and celebration.

Thank you for joining me at The National Gallery!

Girolamo Macchietti The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari about 1555-60 Oil on wood, 75 x 112 cm Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2007 NG6606 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6606
Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Adoration of the Kings 1564 Oil on oak, 112.1 × 83.9 cm Bought with contributions from the Art Fund and Arthur Serena through the Art Fund, 1920 NG3556 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG3556
GOLD Christmas at the National Gallery

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

25 thoughts on “GOLD: Christmas at the National Gallery – Stories of Gold

  1. Hi Rebecca, another interesting post. All my life I have been astonished by peoples fascination with seemingly useless items like gold and diamonds. I know they have value in computers and some drilling equipment but you can’t eat them, love them or drink them. Humanity is so curious. PS my hadeda is missing after yesterday’s storm and so are the baby woodpeckers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no!! I hope that your hadeda and baby woodpeckers found shelter!

      Your mention of “drink them” stirred a memory about water and shiny things. I read an article several years ago about the science behind why we like shining things so I looked up the question and found this article from Fast Company that suggests that it is our need and desire for water that creates this link. Here is an excerpt:

      “People may associate shiny stuff with wealth, for instance, but they associate water with wealth, too. Parsing out how much of the glossy-water connection is socialized and how much might be instinctual is a great challenge that no study can hope to conquer on its own.”

      https://www.fastcompany.com/3024766/an-evolutionary-theory-for-why-you-love-glossy-things

      I am delighted you joined me at the National Gallery!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Rebecca! Looks like December is going to be a fab month on Chasing Art.

    I use gold (and other colours) metallic pens sometimes in my drawings. Looks gold in real life, but catching the metallic in photos is tricky! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As an artist, you would understand the intricacies of how to work with the colour gold, Resa. Thank you for your adding your insights. This is a wonderful series of videos put out by the National Gallery. I am delighted that stopped by for a visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Truly an outstanding subject for December and Christmas, thank you for sharing the photos and the history in the outstanding video you chose to let us view. Outstanding, really! Your visit to the Art Gallery must have been very impressive and the memories will stay and grow more precious as time goes by. The color “Gold” is very well chosen for this time of year. The story of Christmas is actually “golden” in many ways–the story of Mary and Joseph and the manger with baby Jesus in Bethlehem, God’s perfect gift of salvation!! Thank you, I will keep this podcast around to view again! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree – gold is an eye-catching colour, Colleen!! Gold holds so many symbols throughout the centuries. For me, gold mirrors/reflects the radiance of the sun that energizes and warms our earth. Thank you for traveling virtually with me to London. No jet lag!!! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fascinated by how many stories are contained in a painting, Mary Jo. I try to envision the discussions between a patron and the artist. How much influence did the patron have on the outcome of the painting? How did the artist insert his influence and creativity while satisfying the patron’s requests? I continue to learn…

      Liked by 1 person

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