Monochrome: Painting in Black and White

Explore the tradition of painting in black and white from its beginnings in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and into the 21st century. Painting using predominantly black-and-white pigments has long held a fascination for artists, yet there has never been a major exhibition on the subject. ‘Monochrome’ presents a series of case studies that investigate where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film. Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and Gerhard Richter (1932–), ‘Monochrome’ encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

Suitable for
Family friendly

Admission charge applies. Free for members.



Exhibitions and events

Mantegna and Bellini

Event at National Gallery until 27.01.2019 18:00

Comprising major loans of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ compares the work of two pre-eminent artists who also happened to be related by marriage. Website...

City by city: The Italian Renaissance

Event at National Gallery until 24.10.2018 15:15

Learn about the art of Italy's Renaissance cities in this course of six introductory lectures. Each session includes a one-hour lecture followed by 15 minutes of discussion. An optional non-assessed...

Life drawing subverted: Reimagining Seurat with SketchSesh

Event at National Gallery on 27.10.2018 13:30

Led by SketchSesh drawing artists James Davison and Simon Gray, this relaxed and free-flowing life drawing session will explore and subvert notions of gender and ideals of beauty. Suitable for 18+...

Lorenzo Lotto Portraits

Event at National Gallery on 05.11.2018 10:00

Celebrated as one of the greatest portraitists of the Italian Renaissance, Lorenzo Lotto uniquely portrayed a cross section of middle-class sitters, among them clerics, merchants, and humanists....

Will Gompertz on the Impressionists

Event at National Gallery on 16.11.2018 18:30

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz talks about Samuel Courtauld’s vision of telling the story of art in one perfectly formed collection. Admission £16/£15 conc./£14 Members & Patrons Website...

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