Major works of art are on their way to Norwich

Woman in Green (c1909) by Henri Matisse.

Woman in Green (c1909) by Henri Matisse. - Credit: Archant

A stunning collection of works by some of the world's greatest artists is heading for Norwich next month in the most spectacular art show ever seen in the region.

Portrait of R. J. Sainsbury, by Francis Bacon (1955)

Portrait of R. J. Sainsbury, by Francis Bacon (1955) - Credit: Archant

Francis Bacon and the Masters, running at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the UEA campus from April 18 to July 26, brings together a major body of works by the 20th-century artist together with masterpieces by some of the greatest painters and sculptors in history which inspired him.

The exhibition will include works by Rembrandt, Velazquez, Rodin, Michelangelo, Picasso, Bernini, Cezanne, Titian, Matisse and Van Gogh and others as well as superb examples of antique Greek, Roman and Egyptian sculpture from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the world's greatest museum.

It is hoped the blockbuster exhibition will trump the success of the 2013 Masterpieces show at the venue and provide a major boost for the local economy.

The exhibition, with main sponsors Christie's and Barratt & Cooke and for which the EDP is media partner, will offer a unique chance to see these classic works in one place as the vast majority have never been seen in the UK before.

Portrait of an Old Man, by Rembrandt.

Portrait of an Old Man, by Rembrandt. - Credit: Archant

The exhibition comes to Norwich following its internationally-acclaimed opening at the famous Russian museum and is already being touted as one of the 'must-see' art events in the UK in 2015.

Professor Paul Greenhalgh, director of the Sainsbury Centre, said he believed it was the greatest art show ever seen in the region.

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'We have Van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek, Ancient Egyptian… the list just goes on and on… These are very major works of art.'

Prof Greenhalgh said he was 'hugely hopeful' it would bring a major economic boost for the area. 'We strongly believe in supporting the region where we can. I'm very much hoping you will get people coming here from London, Birmingham and the like and supporting restaurants, pubs, hotels… giving the local economy a push. 'It's about getting something special for the people of the region but also to encourage people from elsewhere to come here and see how beautiful it is.'

He paid tribute to The Hermitage and its director Mikhail Piotrovsky for loaning the world-class works. The State Hermitage Museum was founded by Catherine the Great of Russia in 1764 and now features 1,000 rooms of art.

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