A gallery of artwork, all focusing on the theme of “400 years of European art”.

This gallery is split into three sections:

Telling Tales: Stories and symbols in art from the 18th and 19th century

A picture is worth a thousand words. People have always used images to tell stories, from cave paintings to children’s books. Paintings are often used to illustrate a myth, a religious story, a tale from a book or a historical event. Signs and symbols can be used in these paintings to represent a character or even an idea. In the 18th and 19th centuries a number of recognisable symbols were used to represent concepts like time, justice or death.

Devotion: Religious art from the 16th to the 18th century

Religions use art and images to celebrate their faith. Some use paintings and objects to tell the story of how their faith began. Others use imagery to encourage people to lead a good moral life. Religious art is also used to help create a focus for prayer. Stories were illustrated so that everyone could understand them, as many people couldn’t read. They contained easily recognisable signs and symbols so that people of all ages and backgrounds knew what they meant.

The Great Outdoors: Landscapes from the 18th and 19th century

During the 18th and 19th centuries landscape painting became increasingly popular. Artists looked for inspiration in nature as an escape from the growing industrial cities. Other artists painted the beauty of the landscape as a way of worshipping nature. There was a big increase in travel at this time among the rich. Wealthy young men travelled around Europe to broaden their education. This type of trip was known as the Grand Tour. They often bought paintings to remind them of their visit and show everyone back home what they had seen.