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Manchester Art Gallery is home to more than 25,000 works of fine and decorative art, spread over three floors.
The museum's civic role is reflected in the collections. A seam of local craftsmanship and influence runs through the galleries, forming a dialogue with Continental works and those of national significance. Since being substantially extended in 2002 the museum occupies three buildings, including the Neoclassical Royal Manchester Institution, designed by Charles Barry in 1824.
The Fine Art collection includes sculpture, prints, watercolours and drawings, as well as around 2,000 oil paintings. Of particular interest are the 17th-century Dutch works and the English paintings – Gainsborough and Reynolds portraits and Constable and Turner landscapes. There is an outstanding collection of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite works, including Ford Madox Brown's iconic Work and Millais's Autumn Leaves. Paintings by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and David Hockney form the centrepieces of the modern section, along with pre-war pieces by Paul Nash and Henry Moore.
There are significant holdings of works by 'Manchester Impressionist' Adolphe Valette. Valette studied and eventually taught at the Manchester School of Art during the early 20th century, numbering Lowry among his pupils.
The Craft and Design gallery is currently being refurbished and will open in autumn 2015. The gallery offers a changing programme of exhibitions and encompasses international contemporary art, historic works, decorative arts, craft and fashion.
The Gallery is currently refreshing many of its major displays, so if you’re visiting to see a particular work of art, please remember to telephone in advance to check if it is on show.
Art Funded works
A 14th-century crucifixion, thought to be by Duccio, was funded in 1985 and offers a vivid window into the Gospel narrative. Radiant with colour and activity, its attribution may be in question but not its quality.
George Stubbs's lively Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians was commissioned by the Governor-General of Madras, who had donated the cheetah to George III in 1764. The scene is tense with anticipation, the softly pastoral quality of the landscape adding to the exoticism of the foreground figures.
In 2008 in Gallery acquired Filter by Antony Gormley, a stunning glittering sculpture which is suspended to let light flow through.
A series of regularly changing exhibitions reflect the broad scope of Manchester Art Gallery. Throughout 2015 you can see contrasting shows of Sensory War 1914-2014, Cotton Couture, Eastern Exchanges: Craft and Design from East Asia, Stanley Spencer and Matthew Derbyshire.
If you're in need of sustenance, there's a choice between the more formal restaurant offering hot meals made from locally sourced products and the Gallery Café, which offers the usual selection of light meals and snacks.
Art we've helped buy at Manchester Art Gallery
Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all
Daily, 10am – 5pm
Thur, 10am – 9pm