National Gallery

Faking It – Before Photoshop

The term “Photoshopping” has these days become synonymous with photo manipulation. But the practice is much older than the computer software — about as old as photography itself.

An exhibition now on display at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art is exploring just that: The collaging, cutting, pasting and coloring that preceded digital photography.

The exhibition raises questions about truth in photography. Is there such a thing? Even if you don’t physically alter the image, isn’t composition itself a form of manipulation?

“Sometimes a photograph can be posed because it excludes something,” film director Errol Morris once said. “Isn’t there always an elephant just outside the frame?" (The Picture Show : NPR)

Photo: Man in bottle, c. 1888 (J.C. Higgins and Son)


Making Green

Watch a (mesmerizing) painting demonstration to learn about the different properties of green pigments bound in egg tempera and those mixed with oil, and see how these were used to achieve very different effects in masterpieces from the National Gallery’s collection.

This film accompanies the National Gallery exhibition ‘Making Colour’ (18 June - 7 September 2014).


Juan Batista Maíno

Adoration of the Kings (bigger)

Spain (c. 1612)

This gorgeous (and massive) Adoration by Spanish painter Maíno is on loan to the National Gallery  for the first time in the UK for the exhibit Beyond Caravaggio, which explores the influence of that artist throughout Europe.

To help give you some idea of scale:

You can see this and many other works in Beyond Caravaggio until January 29th, 2017 at the National Gallery.