Thailand is most famous for its temples and their remarkable architecture, and it’s rare that you’ll hear of tourists visiting the country for framed arts. But if you’re an art connoisseur or a serious lover of art with a discriminating taste, you won’t leave the National Gallery of Thailand disappointed.
The National Gallery, located in Chao Fa Road, Ko Rattanakosin district in Bangkok, right across the National Theatre of Thailand, is an
art gallery featuring the work of past and current local artists of the country. The gallery was originally a coin manufacturing building used by the Treasury Department of Thailand. In 1974, it was presented by the latter and the Ministry of Finance to the Fine Arts Department to be made as an art gallery of Thailand. Then in 1977, after this old mint building was converted into National Gallery, it was opened to the public in time with the birthday celebration of the Queen Sirikit.
The gallery exhibits both traditional and contemporary Thai art. It has both the old work of renowned artists of Thailand as well as the new paintings of popular and promising artists of the present time. The old artworks date as far back as the 17th Century and includes paintings, sculptures and murals from that period. Modern art of all forms like graphic arts, frescoes and other kinds of modern wall paintings can also be found in the gallery. The gallery’s collection of art has definitely grown overtime and now contains a huge assortment of art showcasing the culture of the country and the skill of its people.
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Another notable feature of the gallery is that it houses the work of the Thailand King Rama VI and of the current King. So if it is variety you want, the National Gallery has it. Also, some of the modern paintings even employ cubism-an artistic style of painting that emphasizes the geometric shapes seen from several angles of a natural form or subject. Others demonstrate impressionism.
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Impressionism is a style of painting that ignores the details and concentrates on the general effect produced by the subject. The presence of both styles in Thai artwork is believed to be the influence of modern schools and of the Westerners on the country’s artists and apprentices.
In the gallery, you will find two kinds of exhibits: the temporary and the permanent exhibits. The temporary gallery includes work of selected Thai and foreign artists. The display comprises paintings, sculptures and other modern prints. The permanent gallery, on the other hand, includes the modern work of famous and present Thai artists of both the past and the current era. The King’s collection of art is also displayed here.
When you’re finished exploring the gallery, you may also want to visit the library, or you may take a peek inside the souvenir shop where books and postcards are sold.
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If you are interested in art seminars, trainings and other art activities, you’d be glad to know that the National Gallery hosts and arranges such. You may visit them from Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. A minimal fee is required for admission.