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Tate Britain

Tate Britain (35)

Situated on Millbank, next to the river, the Tate Britain is a veritable temple dedicated to the cult of British art. When it opened in 1897, it was called the National Gallery of British Art, but soon came to be known as the Tate Gallery, in reference to its creator, the sugar magnate and art collector Henry Tate. 

It later became the gallery’s official name. The new name, Tate Britain, was adopted when the collections of international modern art formed the Tate Modern, which opened in the Bankside area in 2000.   

The Tate Britain currently possesses, in both quality and quantity, the best collection of British art from 1500 until our own times.

One of the aspects that distinguish this gallery is that, to help in exhibiting its entire collection, every year the organisation of the paintings is changed. The starting point is to make a chronological tour in which for each period, the works are grouped together by subject matter. In some cases, whole rooms are dedicated to specific artists. 

This is the case of three very important artists from the Romantic period: Blake, Turner and Constable. Turner, one of the most famous and influential artists of the 19th century is, perhaps, the painter who is given the most in-depth coverage, and has an exclusive space, the Clore Gallery, that houses 300 of his paintings and thousands of watercolours. 

Among the artists that form part of the Tate Britain catalogue we could highlight, among others, Hogarth, Gainsborough and Reynolds, as well as pre-Raphaelites such as Rossetti or Millais or early figures of 20th-century art, such as Francis Bacon. The gallery also has sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.  

The Tate Britain is also the home of the Tate Gallery, in which the Turner Prize is usually given, a controversial award that every year rewards a British visual artist who has stood out in the contemporary art scene. 

The museum has a clear commitment to modern art, both because it houses works from movements as recent as the Young British Artists in the 1990s, with the polemical Damien Hirst at the head, and because of the Art Now programme, which follows the development of new British artists through temporary exhibitions. 

So do not miss this splendid collection, which like nearly all the other big museums in London, is free to get in. They only charge an entrance price in the marvellous temporary exhibitions they organise every year. Now you just have to enjoy over 500 years of creativity.

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