Kate O'Donoghue is currently undertaking the National Gallery's Curatorial Traineeship Programme with Art Fund support and the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation. In her second blog post she describes the transition from her initial training at the National Gallery to her new base at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
Having just arrived in Liverpool and started my placement at the Walker Art Gallery, it is remarkable to look back over the last number of months in London. My final weeks at the National Gallery were busy with the opening of Monet & Architecture. It was an exciting period, and I had the opportunity to meet different colleagues and hear their perspectives on display and curatorial practice.
Since my last update, I have continued my training and found new ways to become involved in the work of the National Gallery. In January, I undertook a courier trip to the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. Overseeing the de-installation and packing of four works on loan, as well as travelling with them, allowed me to put some of my training into practice and to represent the National Gallery in another institution. I have also been encouraged to explore methods of display and interpretation. One way I have been doing this is by considering four National Gallery paintings by the Le Nain brothers, three artists working in 17th-century France, and how they could be exhibited in a new manner. Working on labels and wall text for these unique paintings has been a thought-provoking exercise as I consider methods of engagement.
In February I returned to the Walker Art Gallery where Murillo’s Virgin and Child in Glory is back on display alongside its oil sketch. After looking at these works in the conservation studio, I was interested to study the labels and see how the fascinating conservation work was presented to the public. Over the past few months, I have started to experiment with some of my own redisplay ideas involving paintings from the Walker’s Italian Baroque collection. Now that I am based in Liverpool, I am excited to gain the insights of my colleagues at the Walker, and to discover the ways in which they engage with their local and wider audiences.