Why have lots of famous paintings appeared in seaside town?

Rachel Andrews, the owner of Roost Florist in West Street, Cromer, standing next to a Rousseau painting

Rachel Andrews, the owner of Roost Florist in West Street, Cromer, standing next to a copy of Rousseau's Tiger in a tropical storm, which has been placed in the street by Cromer Art Space. - Credit: Siri Taylor

Edvard Munch's The Scream on the side of a brewery, Rousseau's tiger jumping out the undergrowth next to a florist or a 16th-century painting of a cardinal watching over a supermarket entrance.

None of these are views you would normally expect to see in a seaside best known for its crabs, but in Cromer, highly regarded pieces of art normally found hanging in some of the world's most famous museums have been popping up on street corners.

The Cromer Art Space team preparing to hang up a copy of El Greco's Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara.

The Cromer Art Space team preparing to hang up a copy of El Greco's Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara. - Credit: Siri Taylor

The Bigger Picture project, which has seen 20 pieces of art appear around the town, is the work of Cromer Art Space and aims to bring art to those who may not normally be able to access it, especially during lockdown when galleries were forced to close.

The scheme launched in December 2020, when a reproduction of Children’s Games by Pieter Bruegel the Elder was displayed on the side of the town's Community Centre in Garden Street.

The Cromer Art Space team putting up a copy of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Boating Party.

The Cromer Art Space team putting up a copy of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Boating Party. - Credit: Siri Taylor

Since then, other works including Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Boating Party’ and portraits by Giuseppe Arcimboldo have appeared around the town.


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Siri Taylor, one of the project coordinators said the pieces were selected in accordance with a number of criteria including size, whether they were out of copyright, if a good quality copy could be found and their suitability for a public space.

She said: "They are all [reproduced] to the nearest dimensions that the painter painted them so this gives you a chance to see how the painter saw them, including brush strokes."

Richard Leed, Cromer Mayor, standing next to a reproduction of 'Children’s Games' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Richard Leeds, Cromer Mayor, standing next to a reproduction of 'Children’s Games' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. - Credit: Siri Taylor

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Ms Taylor said the project had received lots of positive feedback, with the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo proving some of the most popular.

The project was due to finish in June, but its success means the CAS now hopes to extend it into 2022, thanks to help from local
individuals and businesses.

She said: "We wanted to do something that's never happened in Cromer before, something that would surprise people, and it's achieved that aim very well. The paintings are in odd places, they move around and surprise people.

"It's not public art, it's art in public places. We want to get the idea out that Cromer is the place to see good art in surprising places."

The Cromer Art Space team putting up a copy of Franz Marc's The Foxes

The Cromer Art Space team putting up a copy of Franz Marc's The Foxes - Credit: Siri Taylor

A full map of the works of art on display in Cromer can be found via www.cromer-artspace.co.uk


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