The impressionist Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh is one of the world’s most recognisable artists, and soon visitors to the Welsh capital will be able to catch a glimpse of the great man himself when one of the artist’s self-portraits goes on display at the National Museum Cardiff.

Simply entitled Portrait of the Artist, the oil on canvas work was completed by Van Gogh in 1887 while the visionary creative was living in Paris, and is one of a number of self-portraits he completed throughout his career. It depicts Van Gogh staring uneasily towards the viewer, with the artist’s pale face and amber-flecked hair contrasting against a tumultuous, dark blue background.

The painting will serve as one of the highlights of the upcoming Art of the Selfie exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff, which will run between March 2024 and January 2025. The exhibition delves into how artists throughout history have used self-portraits to explore ideas around identity and self-expression, and will feature other prominent artists including Rembrandt, Brenda Chamberlain, Francis Bacon and Bedwyr Williams. The exhibition will be priced on a "pay what you can" basis, ensuring the showcase is affordable to all. Tickets are available to book now.

The Van Gogh work is being loaned to the National Museum Cardiff by the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, where it usually hangs. The loan agreement marks the culmination of the Welsh Government’s Wales in France initiative, a year-long programme of events and collaborations that has cemented stronger cultural, sporting and business ties between the two nations. As part of the agreement, a gem from the Welsh museum’s own collection, the 1874 portrait La Parisienne by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, will in turn head to the French capital for a one year residency.

Speaking about the arrival of the famous self-portrait, Dr Kath Davies, Director of Collections and Research at Amgueddfa Cymru (Museum Wales), said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Van Gogh’s self-portrait to Wales to celebrate the Wales in France partnership.’

'I am sure visitors to the museum will enjoy seeing this work by one of the world’s best-known painters displayed alongside paintings by artists from our collection here in Wales,’ she added.

Though Portrait of the Artist will be the first Van Gogh self-portrait to be shown in Wales, National Museum Cardiff is fortunate enough to have another work by the beloved but troubled painter in its permanent collection. Rain - Auvers was painted by Van Gogh in 1890, shortly before he died, and depicts the landscape around Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, during a rainstorm.

Aside from an impressive array of impressionist paintings, Cardiff’s flagship museum is also home to sculptures by Rodin, giant models of dinosaurs, and rocks retrieved from the moon.

Discover more of the treasures waiting to be uncovered in Wales’ seven national museums.

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