The Arnolfini Gallery, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, is one of Britain's leading visitor attractions, showcasing a superb range of contemporary artworks. Throughout the year, it organises many themed events, from poetry readings to concerts, and was relocated to its current position at the harbourside in 1975. The Arnolfini Gallery is also centrally located within a mile radius of several hotels and a great selection of restaurants, boutiques and nightlife venues.
Origins of the Name
The Arnolfini Gallery takes its name from the Arnolfini Portrait that was painted by Jan van Eyck, a highly influential Early Netherlandish painter, in the 15th Century. It is considered to be the first known portrait to clearly illustrate a marriage through a painting, and is a quintessential example of illusionism that was only just beginning to take hold in the art world at this time.
What to See at the Arnolfini Gallery
The Arnolfini Gallery has a great bookshop specialising in art-related items, and comprises three exhibitions showcasing the work of many acclaimed British artists. It also has a cinema and a stylish café bar providing delicious cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients, and is regularly used for major conferences. For luxury accommodation just a short walk from the Arnolfini Gallery, try the four star Radisson Blu Hotel, which provides large, chic rooms and has a fully equipped gym and business centre.
Other Museums to Explore in Bristol
Spend some time at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, which is housed in a beautiful Edwardian Baroque building and has an impressive Ancient Egyptian exhibition and Eastern Art collection, among other exhibits. Close to the University of the West of England, in the Fishponds district of Bristol, is the Glenside Museum, where you can learn about the history of psychiatric care and the Glenside Hospital, once an important military hospital during the First World War.
For incredibly good value for money you could stay at the three star Ibis Bristol Temple Meads Quay, which is very close to Bristol Temple Mead railway station and just a mile from the Arnolfini Gallery. It offers decent-sized rooms with coffee-making facilities and free WiFi.