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30 of 2,652 paintings
This triptych – a folding picture in three parts – was most likely made for private contemplation and worship. The central image shows Christ crowning the Virgin Mary after her ascension to heaven. Orderly tiers of cherubim and seraphim (the blue and red winged creatures at the very top), angels...
Not on display
This painting looks as though it has been composed from two separate portraits. The figure in the red and white dress of a cardinal points to the signature on the parchment in front of him, ‘Hyppol[itus] me[dicis] Vice cancel[arius]’, which identifies him as Cardinal Ippolito de‘ Medici, vice-cha...
Not on display
Lit by a shaft of sunlight against dark shadows behind, the group of figures playing cards form a colourful distraction in a rather grey environment. We are witnessing a moment of triumph: the man in the red coat has just produced an ace while his opponent, in the blue jerkin, has the expression...
Not on display
This small oil painting on paper mounted on canvas is attributed to Stanislas-Victor-Edmond Lépine, whose signature is faintly visible. The paper is torn along the edges and a darker underlayer suggests an earlier composition has been painted over.A simple path in a park or woodland leads to an o...
Not on display
This painting places us in a busy Parisian street close to six principal figures who fill the foreground. A milling crowd behind them almost completely blocks out the boulevard beyond. The top quarter of the picture is mostly filled by a canopy of at least a dozen umbrellas.Painted in two stages,...
We don‘t know who painted this picture, nor do we know who the sitter is, but his upright stance and direct gaze and the immaculate points of his handsome moustache suggest a man used to authority. The commander’s baton in his right hand confirms his likely rank in the Dutch army.The picture has...
Not on display
In 1751, a rhinoceros known as Miss Clara was publicly exhibited at the Venice Carnival, creating a sensation across Europe. She was the subject of poems, paintings, tapestries, medals and sculptures; ladies even styled their hair in the shape of a horn. Pietro Longhi painted this picture around...
This is one of 12 small pictures that together show the ‘labours of the months’ – the activities that take place each month throughout the farming year.In what we believe is the final painting of this series, a man wearing a white apron and holding a knife slaughters a grey pig by slitting its th...
Not on display
Before the 1880s Renoir painted very few nudes. But the artist’s journey to Italy in 1881, where he was absorbed by Roman sculpture and Renaissance painting, rekindled his interest and he began painting them far more often. This small and intimate picture is probably one of a series made during t...
Golden hair, rosy lips and pale skin were the ideal of feminine beauty in fifteenth-century Florence. All feature in this lady’s portrait, which was probably made to celebrate her marriage.Around her long neck she wears a strand of orange beads with a pendant set with a large pearl. A cluster of...
This painting was once a portrait, but it was altered to represent a saint. The hair of the figure was originally completely different, her hand was resting on a different object and her dress was decorated with gold around the edges. Later, after the dress and background had been completed, she...
A young man kneels in a prison cell, wearing the robes and horned cap of a doge (the elected head of the Venetian state). On the ground are wooden stocks and heavy chains with manacles from which he has just been freed. Christ empties a cup over the young man’s bowed head. Two angels arrive holdi...
Not on display
The dead Christ, wrapped in his shroud, is held upright in a marble tomb by two grieving angels. This painting comes from a large altarpiece made in the middle of the fifteenth century by Giorgio Schiavone, possibly for the church of San Niccolò in Padua.This way of showing Christ was based on a...
Not on display
Saint John the Baptist sits on a stone ledge, his attribute of a reed cross leaning against his shoulder. John was a hermit and prophet who lived in the wilderness, baptising people in the river Jordan and preaching repentance of sins. The scroll in his right hand bears a Latin inscription: ECCE...
Not on display
Assuming that the inscription on the back of this pastel is correct, this is Marthe Legrix de La Salle (1716–1777), daughter of a successful draper in Bordeaux. She married Jacques IV Le Grix (or Legrix) de La Salle in Bordeaux in 1733. According to the memoirs of her son Jacques, Marthe had a k...
Not on display
Saint Paul is depicted with reed pen poised, gazing at the crucified Christ for inspiration. The Greek text he is writing is from his first Epistle to the Corinthians (13: 4): ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up’. His attribute,...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary stands barefoot on a narrow patch of grass, dangerously close to the edge of a rocky slope, with an angel on either side. As our gaze moves upwards, we are calmed by the Christ Child sleeping peacefully in his mother’s arms.Circular paintings, known as tondi, were hugely popular i...
Not on display
Self Portrait in a Straw Hat is a signed copy by the artist of a very popular self portrait that she painted in 1782 and which is now in the collection of the baronne Edmond de Rothschild. The pose is deliberately modelled on Rubens’s Portrait of Susanna Lunden (?) (also in the National Gallery’s...
Jan van Goyen’s painting – his view of the wide sweep of the Netherlandish landscape – is a poetic vision. Seen from a sandy rising, the horizon is low and the sky vast. Just a few birds wheel in the towering clouds.Van Goyen was very influential in the development of the ‘tonal phase’ of Dutch p...
Not on display
The picture of a hunt, with aristocratic riders wielding spears and the stag surrounded by hounds all ready for the kill, might not be to everyone’s taste today. But the speed and vitality of the animals and the huntsman blowing the horn – the stag itself moving with such energy that it still jus...
This is the first of Lancret’s series of paintings depicting The Four Ages of Man.Ten wealthy children, a baby, a nurse and a governess are outside in a tiled neoclassical loggia. Two of the children are being taught to read by the governess, while the others are playing boisterous games. A boy a...
Not on display
This handsome horse, which would have been an impressive status symbol in seventeenth-century Holland, is presented in a dramatic light. It dwarfs the stable boy. Its forequarters stand out brightly against the dark hillside while its rump is contrasted against the luminous sky; there are no othe...
Not on display
The Continence of Scipio is one of a series of paintings that show scenes from ancient Roman history. They were probably intended to be inserted into wall panelling. Three other pictures in the series are in the National Gallery’s collection: The Attack on Cartagena, The Rape of the Sabines and T...
Not on display
This panel is like a miniature altarpiece. The Virgin Mary and Christ Child occupy the central arch, with Saint Mark on the left and Saint John the Baptist on the right.There is a Latin inscription in gold next to the Virgin, which means: ‘Holy Mary of Humility’. This title was often given to ima...
We don't know who the young woman in this small portrait was, but her jewellery and clothes, which are in the fashion of around 1560, are not enormously rich: she was probably not a lady of the court.A rather similar but even smaller portrait of a similarly dressed lady is in the collection of th...
Not on display
In 1 Corinthians 13, Saint Paul discusses three traits that would become known as the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. He believed that charity, an expression of the love of God and of one’s neighbour, was the most important. Here, the inscription ‘CHARITAS’ at the top of the picture...
This very small and very unusual painting shows the view of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft as though through a wide-angle lens. The effect is emphasised by two musical instruments, set out on a table by the man – probably a maker of, or dealer in, such instruments.The violin (or possibly a viola da gam...
In this painting of 1640 of a well-to-do but unremarkable Dutch family, Pieter Codde’s challenge was to give life to a static scene. The sitters are unknown, although it has been suggested that they are Hendricus Meursius and Judith Cotermans with their son. Whatever their identity, their fine cl...
Not on display
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