The Art of Seeing Nature: Masterpieces from Tate Britain showed six masterpieces by six great artists born or working in Britain, the first time these works have been shown in the Middle East. The pictures were:
- Thomas Gainsborough Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream c.1760
- George Stubbs Mares and Foals in a River Landscape 1763–8
- John Constable The Grove, Hampstead 1821–2
- Joseph Mallord William Turner The Golden Bough 1834
- Sir John Everett Millais Dew-Drenched Furze 1889–90
- John Singer Sargent The Mountains of Moab 1905
The paintings represent highlights of Tate’s unrivalled collection of historic British art, and of the development of painting in Britain as it depicted landscape and the natural world. The exhibition drew attention to the diverse sources of inspiration for this tradition – Dutch painting, classical myth and history, and also to the disparate landscapes depicted – Constable at Hampstead Heath, Millais on a sporting estate in Scotland and Sargent in the Middle East. Stubbs’s horses were evidently of Arab blood, specimens perhaps of the bloodstock exported to England from the region during the 18th century.
The exhibition was accompanied by a bi-lingual publication, and a film exploring themes in the paintings with contributions from a number of people including Ali b. Abdullah al-Habsi, the renowned goalkeeper of the Omani national football team, who knows the British and the Omani landscape. The exhibition was accompanied by an outreach programme including school visits and lectures and activities for young children in the exhibition.