Leading article: Leonardo merits extended opening hours at the National Gallery

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The National Gallery regards its Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which opens to the public today, as the blockbuster of the year – even the decade. And quite rightly. It's a wonderful show displaying no less than half the paintings of the great Italian Renaissance master.

But great popularity surely demands some responsibility for the viewer's comfort. You can't hold an exhibition of such enormous appeal as if it were just an add-on to the Gallery's permanent collection, keeping to the same daily hours. Any other business would adjust its hours to suit demand. So should the National Gallery.

The Leonardo exhibition runs for only three months and there is no reason why it could not easily be shut off from the main building and kept open until late in the evening, if not all night. Demand for the show is already high; the gallery should act to accommodate as many people as possible who would like to see it.