Manchester Art Gallery houses paintings and sculptures dating back to the 1400s. It is particularly well known for its Pre-Raphaelite and local artist,Adolphe Valette collections.
In the17th century gallery there are many grand portraits. Sitters were painted to look as prosperous and regal as possible, and elaborate backgrounds were often added. Many town and country estates were being built, and the owners comissioned portraits to fill them with symbols of their wealth. Important artist in this gallery are Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Turner and Calanetto.
The Pre-Raphaelites were considered rebellious in their day. During the 1800s they decided to move away from the unrealistic Victorian paintings of idyllic landscapes and contented families.
They showed their subjects in real-life situations, which caused quite a stir at the time. Artists displayed at the museum include Rossetti, Holman Hunt, Burges, Millais and Hughes.
The Manchester City Gallery displays many Victorian paintings. Visitors can see how the spread of the British Empire and increased travel, resulted in an exotic influence in art. Ancient Greaks and Romans, and exotic lands became popular subjects. Key artists in this section are Peter Graham, Elizabeth Thompson, Rossetti and Powell Smith.
More modern paintings include those in the Valette and Lowry collection. Adolphe Valette was the art teacher of L. S. Lowry in Manchester. His impressionistic style would appear to have been an influence in Lowry's work, which features the same simplicity. The two artists are featured in this collection, so visitors can decide for themselves.
The galleries are completely accessible to disabled visitors, and there are toilet facilities. There is a gift shop and cafe on site. For children there are activity packs and story sacks, to help guide and entertain them around the museum. The craft gallery contains a handling trail, where children are encouraged to touch items made from different materials.
Manchester Gallery does not have its own car park, but there is a pay and display car park nearby. There are good tram, bus and rail links.
Manchester Art Gallery,
Tel: 0161 235 8888