‘Art for the Nation’ offers a major reassessment of the National Maritime Museum’s oil paintings collections. It brings together some of the finest of over 4000 paintings in the Museum’s care, under the roof of the Queen’s House – the Museum’s showcase for art. The sea and all it entails with respect to world commerce, exploration and empire, is fundamental to British history and identity. It continues to be so, in shaping the profile of British multiculturalism and our shared imperial heritage. The 200 paintings in the exhibition both represent and are part of that heritage. As such, they provide a unique light on our history as a maritime nation and on the place of art within it. Grouped by the individual collections to which they relate, the paintings cover portraiture, history painting and landscape, as well as marine painting. They treat themes of encounter, colonialism and global exploration, shipwreck, battle and spectacle, as well as personality and the cult of the hero. They also point to their own history: their place within the history of British art, and the history of how they arrived at Greenwich.
A lavishly-illustrated book to accompany the exhibition is now in store and is also available toorder online, price £15.00. With a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, Art for the Nationincludes essays by experts on maritime art Geoff Quilley, Pieter van der Merwe, Roger Quarm, Caroline Corbeau, Olivia Horsfall-Turner, Eleanor Hughes and John Bonehill.