The National Gallery, London has announced an exhibition exploring the subject of Sin will be staged in Spring 2020. Tracey Emin’s neon work It Was Just A Kiss will be shown alongside Andy Warhol and Ron Mueck, alongside paintings by Jan Breughel the Elder, Hogarth, Gossaert, Velázquez, Jan Steen, Bronzino, Holman Hunt, and the Gallery’s recently acquired Venus and Cupid by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The National Gallery states: “Sin is defined universally as a regrettable fault, offence or omission, which everyone can relate to. It is a concept that pervades human life and history. Although sin’s origins lie far further back, Christianity considers sin a transgression against divine law. Many of the world’s major religions have similar concepts.
“Sin will provoke people to think about their own definition of sin, and explores this problematic and ambiguous concept through art. It will show how sin is fundamental to our visual culture, and permeates our lives. An idea of sin is universal, yet its specifics are highly personal.
“Even a brief walk through the National Gallery confirms that sin is an omnipresent theme in the history of art, but that its story has never been coherently told. In its broadest sense, sin has been on artists’ minds almost continuously. Sin brings together paintings that explicitly explore complex theological ideas – the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man to ideas of Original Sin, redemption, atonement, the seven deadly sins, the Immaculate Conception, and confession – but also implicit depictions of ‘sinful’ everyday behaviour that blur the boundaries between religious and secular art.”
As a brief walk through the National Gallery also confirms the lack of paintings by women (24 out of 23,000), it will be interesting to see how this will play out if the only female artist represented in the show is by the contemporary work from Tracey Emin.
Sin will run at the National Gallery, London, 15 April – 5 July 2020