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Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery in London

Published on , by Olivier Tosseri

Born in London, where he studied art history, the Italian curator runs one of Britain’s greatest museums and is planning its 2024 bicentennial celebrations, in the face of Brexit and the pandemic.

© National Gallery, London Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery in London

© National Gallery, London

How would you sum up the eight years you’ve been head of the National Gallery? I became the director in 2015, and Covid split these eight years into two periods. The one before the pandemic was flourishing economically, with an extremely high number of visitors, averaging around six million each year. In 2016, the Brexit vote led to a lot of uncertainty about what its consequences would be for the cultural sector. Then Covid hit and we had to shut down for 292 days. In 2020, we had to suspend our "Titian" show three times. Since then, we’ve seen attendance slowly rise back up to 60% of what it was before the pandemic. The National Gallery has started thriving again, with a program of solid exhibitions, major acquisitions and unprecedented digital activity. We also work with contemporary artists like Richard Long, Nalini Malani, and Kehinde Wiley, who are helping us reinterpret our collections. How did Brexit affect Britain’s cultural scene and art market? There was a strong impact…
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