The stories behind the art in our National Art Pass autumn campaign

The National Art Pass offers free entry to over 240 venues and 50% off admission to major exhibitions across the UK.


Mel Brimfield, Still from Death and Dumb Part 2, 2013

Mel Brimfield's wide-ranging multimedia works draws on photography, experimental theatre, writing and painting to build alternative realities, using fake documents and records to bring to life a universe populated by Brimfield's performances and collaborations with other artists. ​


Francis Danby, Sunset at Sea after a Storm, 1824

From around 1818/19, Danby was a member of the informal group of artists which has become known as the Bristol School, taking part in sketching excursions visiting local scenery. The Bristol connection is of great importance, for it stimulated the magical feeling of romantic poetry which Danby is able to reproduce more precisely than almost any other painter.


Ron Mueck, A Girl, 2006

This enormous sculpture by Mueck, measures just over five metres in length and captures a newly delivered baby in her first glimpse of the surrounding world. Mueck exploits scale to affect the viewer's perception of his sculptures. In creating this gigantic new born baby, he uses scale as an expressive device to enhance and bring to the fore both the trauma and the miracle of birth.


Dorothea Tanning, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1943

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one of the best known of Dorothea Tanning's early paintings. It was made while Tanning was staying with her companion, the artist Max Ernst, in Sedona, Arizona. By the door of the ranch, Tanning planted some sunflower seeds and became fascinated with these plants. She saw the sunflower in Eine Kleine Nachtmusik as a symbol of all the things that youth has to face and to deal with and has said that it represented the never-ending battle we wage with unknown forces, the forces that were there before our civilisation.


Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Venus Verticordia, c.1863-68

The title Venus, turner of hearts, derives from Latin literature, where it designates the role of Venus, goddess of love and beauty, in turning women's hearts towards virtue. However, Rossetti interpreted it in the opposite sense, to mean turning men's hearts away from fidelity. This is evident in his sonnet for the picture. The roses, honeysuckle, apple and nude figure all contribute to the theme of love and sexuality.


Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman, 1937

One of the worst atrocities of the Spanish Civil War was the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica. Picasso responded to the massacre by painting the vast mural Guernica, and for months afterwards he made subsidiary paintings based on one of the figures in the mural: a weeping woman holding her dead child. Weeping Woman is the last and most elaborate of the series. The woman's features are based on Picasso's lover Dora Maar.


Dan Holdsworth, Blackout 13, 2010

Dan Holdsworth's large-scale photograph of an Icelandic glacier offers an awe-inspiring view of the world. After capturing his pictures, Holdsworth edits them through analogue and digital processes to turn them into something startling. The blue of the sky becomes the black of space, while the ice and rocks appear in blindingly negative white, giving us a new perspective on nature at its most sublime.

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