Ever wondered how the Old Masters made their paintings? In artist Tina McCallan’s new project for the Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, you can find out for yourself

To celebrate International Museum Day 2021, Tina will turn the museum into an artist’s studio and invite 120 people to paint a square on a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. The “Passion Triptych”, painted between 1510-1520 by Bosch and his workshop. The original hangs in the museum and belonged to Mencía de Mendoza, a Spanish noblewoman residing in Valencia. There are some suitably surreal squares to paint which reflect the surreal times we have had lately.

Tina says: “I got the idea while watching copyists in the National Gallery, a small crowd had gathered and people seemed to be fascinated by watching someone paint, I thought how great it would be to invite the onlookers to paint too. I also did research into Old Masters’ workshops and found out they didn’t paint every part of their pictures but used assistants! I had the idea to make a collaborative painting in the same way but divide it up into squares in a democratic way and credit each person. Since then, I’ve done many re-creations in places such as the National Gallery, London; the United Nations, Lebanon; and the Glastonbury Festival.”

What’s it like painting in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia?

“It’s so atmospheric. The museum has been an incredible patron. I love working with Estrella Rodríguez Roncero, the Head of Education, she had the vision to invite me the first time, even though it was a risk.  Last year, we did an online re-creation during lockdown with people painting the squares in their homes and then uploading them. It was a huge success but it’s so nice to be physically back in the museum!”

Do you need any experience?

No experience is necessary, it’s free and you can choose the square you want to paint. It’s a way of demystifying oil painting and turning the audience of the museum into the artists.” 

The project will observe all Covid-19 protocols with two people painting on each canvas in 45 minute slots in a space that has plenty of fresh air.

Tina says: “The idea is to copy your square as closely as you can but as everyone has different perception of colours and skill it becomes a dazzling patchwork of styles. I’ve already drawn it out. Look forward to seeing you there!”

Follow Tina McCallan on Instagram at @tinamccallan or visit her website at

Jackie Albert will be following the progress of the project with photographer Rosie Mayell;

By Jackie Albert

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