Though most art institutions in the United Kingdom remain open amid the coronavirus outbreak, the National Gallery in London has taken a major step toward mitigating crowds in its galleries. The museum has postponed the country’s first major exhibition of works by the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, which had been set to open April 4.
The National Gallery has not named a new date for the show’s opening. The exhibition was to bring together the artist’s best-known works, including two versions of her famed painting Judith Beheading Holofernes. Other offerings were to include a selection of her personal letters and self-portraits.
[See a list of the major museums around the world that have closed because of the coronavirus.]
According to a report in the Art Newspaper, the museum emphasized that the exhibition has not been canceled. National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi told the publication that the move was “a tough decision,” adding, “we look forward to being able to celebrate the astounding artistic achievements of Artemisia Gentileschi with everyone as soon as we possibly can.”
A new auction record was set for Gentileschi in 2019 with the sale of the painting Lucretia, which went for €4.8 million ($6.1 million) at the Parisian house Artcurial. Around the same time, the National Gallery acquired the painting The Finding of Moses by Artemisia’s father, Orazio.
News of the postponement follows similar headlines across the international art world, with fairs, auctions, and other events canceled or delayed because of the outbreak. Last week, institutions throughout the United States, Germany, and France shuttered.