The new £20 million Millennium Wing of the National Gallery of Ireland which fronts onto Clare Street in Dublin, is officially opened by the Minister for Arts, Síle de Valera.
Designed by architects Benson and Forsyth the Millennium Wing of the NGI is big, spacious and brilliantly quirky, but most importantly it gives the gallery an extra 4,000 square metres. This provides two gallery suites for the permanent collection and exhibitions, as well as research facilities at the Centre for the Study of Irish Art and the Jack B Yeats Archive, plus a shop and restaurant. A pre-existing 18th Georgian house and a 19th century ballroom have been incorporated into the new complex.
The Millennium Wing’s inaugural exhibition ‘Monet, Renoir and the Impressionist Landscape’ comprises 69 priceless works by the world's greatest impressionist artists from collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Malcolm Rogers describes Impressionism in the 19th century as
A revolutionary mood, a revolutionary movement in art that bought the outside indoors, that abandoned classical subjects, abandoned religious subjects, looked to nature, looked to sunlight.
Such is the interest in this exhibition that more than 150,000 people are expected to attend before it finishes in April 2002.
An RTÉ News report by Colm Connolly broadcast on 21 January 2002.