Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery is one of the country’s finest art museums. We mix works from our wonderful historic collections with the best international contemporary art to bring fresh perspectives to familiar images, create visual dialogues and encourage conversation and debate. We welcome over half a million visitors each year to our home in the heart of the city, a blend of historic and contemporary architecture that echoes our innovative artistic programme. Through our exhibitions and events, we offer extraordinary encounters with brilliant art.
Explore our collections of fine art, spanning six centuries and including many major modern and contemporary pieces. We are famous for 19th century British paintings, particularly our outstanding collection of Pre-Raphaelite works. Our decorative arts collections showcase the artistry, tastes and techniques of every era and culture, from ancient civilizations to today’s designer makers. Our collections of ceramics, silver, glass, furniture and costume are especially fine. We constantly renew and update our collections displays so you should discover something new every time you visit.
Monday - Sunday 10am - 5pm, including bank holiday Mondays
Late night opening on Thursday until 9pm
Part of a Designated Collection of Fine and Decorative Art, which you can also see at Wythenshawe Hall and Heaton Hall, is on display here. Please contact Manchester Art Gallery for more information if you wish to see a specific item.
Manchester Art Gallery is renowned for its collections of fine and decorative art, including internationally famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings and significant holdings of English ceramics. The Art Gallery re-opened in 2002 after a £35 million expansion which doubled the amount of display space available.
Famous for its impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the gallery houses works by Hunt, Rosetti, Madox Brown and Burne-Jones among others. However, all periods are covered, including what’s happening now.
Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Hondartza Fraga: The Sea Full Stop
- 25 September 2015 — 25 September 2016 *on now
Hondartza Fraga's imaginary seascapes explore our understanding of the sea, and give the focus of a seascape back to the sea.
A seascape is a work of art that depicts a view or a representation of the sea. However in the Dutch seascapes of the 17th century, the sea is often only a backdrop to scenes of shipping, naval conflict and trade. The paintings celebrate not the sea but the military and economic power of the Dutch Republic.
This display of drawings, animation and photography by artist Hondartza Fraga is a contemporary response to the seascapes in The Dutch at Sea exhibition. These imaginary sea views explore our understanding of the sea, and give the focus of a seascape back to the sea.
Having grown up beside the sea in north-western Spain, and now land-locked in Leeds, it’s the history of the sea that fascinates Fraga. She observes it from the perspective of old maritime prints, maps and books. One particular book, Ocean Passages for the World., provides the title of this display. The use of a full-stop suggests its knowledge of the sea is complete. Yet the immensity of earth’s oceans remain unknown today.
- Any age
Manchester Art Gallery’s Urban Garden
- 1 October 2015 — 1 October 2016 *on now
Following the success of The Lost Gardens of Manchester, we are keeping an urban garden at the Gallery. Both our visitors, and our bees who live on the Gallery’s roof, have enjoyed the green oasis in the city so much that we want the gardens to continue.
The National Trust, who designed and planted the original garden, are now working with us to hand over a legacy garden which will be maintained by gallery staff and volunteers, whilst we work on a permanent proposition with Manchester City Council and Historic England for the greening of the exterior of the gallery.
- Any age
Schiaparelli and Thirties Fashion
- 8 October 2015 — 9 October 2016 *on now
Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) is celebrated for her creativity both as an artist and as a fashion designer. Her love of bold designs led Chanel to question her skills in fashion, calling her ‘that Italian artist who makes dresses’. This is not untrue as she had a flair for memorable ‘artistic’ clothes, which were popular with flamboyant clients – women such as Marlene Dietrich or Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor). She is certainly one of the most celebrated fashion designers of the middle twentieth century, and one of the few outstanding women couturiers.
- Any age
Modern Japanese Design
- 4 December 2015 — 15 January 2017 *on now
Thirty two designers display over one hundred pieces in a dynamic display conveying the essence of the unique Japanese design ethos.
The Design Gallery will reopen on 4th December with a stunning display of modern Japanese design.
Drawn from Manchester’s own collections, the show provides an overview of the past fifty years of Japanese design. It highlights the breadth of Manchester’s collections, bringing together fashion, furniture, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery.
The exhibition, located in the refurbished 19th century former Athenaeum theatre space, includes works from thirty two designers with over one hundred pieces on display. It shows how respect for nature and natural forces and the innovative use of materials and revolutionary techniques have influenced Japanese design. The display also reveals the importance of philosophical and spiritual ideas derived from Buddhism that have influenced the aesthetic and conceptual direction of Japanese design through the approaches of minimalism, deconstruction, and wabi sabi.
- Any age
The Imitation Game
- 13 February — 5 June 2016 *on now
The Imitation Game is an exhibition by eight international contemporary artists who explore the theme of machines and the imitation of life.
The exhibition includes work by artists Ed Atkins, James Capper, Paul Granjon, Tove Kjellmark, Lynn Hershman Leeson, David Link, Mari Velonaki and Yu-Chen Wang. With a title inspired by Alan Turing’s Turing Test, devised to test a computer’s ability to imitate human thought, introduced in an article while he was working at The University of Manchester, The Imitation Game includes three new commissions and works never before seen in the UK.
Family Art Club
Play games, be creative and get messy at Manchester Art Gallery's free family art club. Workshops are designed for you to play, create and enjoy as a family. Workshops are suitable for children aged 6-11 years and their families. The workshops run for two hours to give you the chance to relax and enjoy some quality creative time with your children.
How to obtain
Sessions are free and there's no need to book but places are limited so turn up early.
Family Art Club - Under 5s
Make friends. Make noise. Make a mess! Activities for children aged 0-5 years from 13.00 to 15.00. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
How to obtain
Under 5s Family Art Club sessions are free but places are limited, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
KS2 Interactive: Ford Madox Brown's Work
This Flash online interactive uses the famous painting Work to bring Victorian social history to life. Characters come alive, a series of clues encourage children to investigate the painting closely, and a series of different objects are used to explore the different responses people have to objects and their meanings, encouraging pupils to empathise with different characters. The interactive ends with a quiz to assess what has been learnt, and there's also a handy teacher's guide.
Mini Family Art Club
Make friends. Make noise. Make a mess! Activities for children aged 5 and under. Come along on Fridays 10.30-11.30 with your little ones and spend some quality fun time in a safe environment. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
How to obtain
Activities are free and there is no need to book but places are limited so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Stepping Inside a 1910 painting with Tony Ross
Acclaimed children's author and illustrator Tony Ross responds to a 1910 painting called Old Cab at All Saints, Manchester by Adolphe Valette, producing a witty comment on the original. Good worksheets to help you try it yourself.
- This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.
Manchester Art Gallery
0161 235 8888
0161 235 8893