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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
National Gallery unveils facelift
Atrium -  The National Gallery, London; photo by Morley Von Sternberg
The light-filled atrium is at the heart of the project
Two new entrances to the National Gallery have been unveiled as part of a 21m redevelopment.

From Sunday, visitors to the gallery will enter the building from Trafalgar Square and St Martin's Place.

The Sir Paul Getty Entrance - on the north side of the square - takes people directly into the newly refurbished Central Hall.

The hall - which used to be a shop - is now home to eight paintings from the Italian Renaissance.

Gallery executives hope it will make the institution more open and welcoming.

The Sir Paul Getty Entrance - so-called following a 10m donation from the family foundation - leads into an atrium and a grand staircase against a black marble wall which takes visitors through to the hall.

Central Hall -  The National Gallery, London; photo by Morley Von Sternberg
The Central Hall used to be a shop

The hall was originally designed to be a picture gallery but during the last 30 years has been a shop and later a "hybrid space", said the gallery's director Charles Saumarez Smith.

Susan Foister, the gallery's director of collections, said they had thought "long and hard" about which works to display in the Central Hall.

She said they decided on the likes of Titian's The Vendramin Family as well as other works by his contemporaries because "the British people love art from the Italian Renaissance".

The other entrance leads into the expanded and refurbished cafe from St Martin's Place.

An additional 4.5m is still needed to complete the second phase of the redevelopment project, which includes knocking down the two dividing walls which were a later addition in the Portico Entrance Hall.

The redevelopment of the East Wing will open to the public on Sunday.

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