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Chance to see iconic Canaletto painting at National Library of Wales

Caneletto’s ‘The Stonemason’s Yard’ can be seen in Aberystwyth from May 10

CANALETTO’S masterpiece‘The Stonemason’s Yard’is returning to Wales as part of the National Gallery’s anniversary celebrations.

National Treasures: Canaletto in Aberystwyth will star in the Idyll and Industryexhibition which opens in the Gregynog Gallery at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on Friday, May 10.

The exhibition tells the incredible story of this painting and how it came to Wales as a ‘refugee’ from bombing during the Second World War to be safely protected in the cavernous Manod slate mines.

‘The Stonemason’s Yard’and the wider Idyll and Industryexhibition coincides with the National Gallery’s 200th anniversary. The National Treasuresproject celebrates this special occasion by placing 12 masterpieces from the National Gallery’s collection in museums and art galleries across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The National Library of Wales exhibition will be the only opportunity to view one of these masterpieces in Wales.

Theexhibition will also display Welsh landscapes from the National Art Collection and will explore the artistic and thematic links between ‘The Stonemason’s Yard’ and the scenery of Wales.

A rich tapestry of the idyllic and the industrial, Wales’ vistas have been a source of inspiration for many artists. The exhibition will include works by classical artists such as Richard Wilson, J. M. W. Turner and Penry Williamsalongside more modern works by artists like Graham Sutherland, Mary Lloyd Jonesand Ernest Zobole.

In a first for the library, the exhibition will include an audio described tour for a selection of items on display. Following successful trials with local visitors who are blind or have visual impairments, this is further development towards making the library’s collections more accessible and the exhibitions more inclusive.

Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, the library’s chief executive, said: “This promises to be a very special exhibition and we are extremely grateful to be working in partnership with the National Gallery.

“It is an honour to have one of Canaletto’s masterpieces here. Displaying the work alongside some of the highlights of the National Art Collection in the library creates a great opportunity to appreciate the richness and diversity of the Welsh experience and the responses to that in art.”

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Mari Elin Jones, the library’s interpretation officer, said:”Working with the National Gallery on this exhibition to mark their 200th anniversary has been an incredible privilege.

“Being able to welcome Canaletto’s masterpiece back to Wales, after having taken refuge here 80 years ago, is tremendously exciting and we cannot wait to share with the public this fascinating story.

“This exhibition has also been a fantastic impetus to delve deeper into our own national collection of Welsh landscape art and we’re thrilled to be showcasing nearly 100 works spanning over 250 years in the majestic Gregynog Gallery.”

The exhibition will be on display at library from May 10 until September 7 and a programme of associated events will be shared on the Library’s website in the coming weeks.