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30 of 2,654 paintings
This was the central panel of a multi-panelled altarpiece commissioned in 1512 by Clarice Manfredi, a Dominican prioress, for the chapel of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the church of S. Andrea in Vineis in Faenza. Side panels showing Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint John the Evangelist were placed to th...
Not on display
Jacob Ochtervelt has focused our gaze on a brilliantly dressed woman standing at a virginal. Light falls onto her bare left shoulder and on the huge double dome of red satin that forms the back of the skirt and its train. She seems cut off from an intimate exchange between a female singer and a v...
Not on display
The painting divides neatly down the middle. On the left side we have books and globes, then considered key repositories of knowledge. And on the right is the world of thought and reflection represented by the sitter, who adopts the classic thinker’s pose: hand on chin, eyes apparently unfocused,...
Not on display
Paintings of the coronation of the Virgin Mary typically show her being crowned by Christ and God the Father, often accompanied by the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove. This work, however, mixes elements of the coronation with those of Mary’s assumption (when angels carried her body and soul to h...
This picture is one of five portraits painted by Dirck Santvoort of the daughters of the Spiegel family showing the girls as personifications of the five senses. Here, the four-year-old Geertruyt Spiegel represents Touch and holds a finch that pecks her finger. Santvoort, a friend of Rembrandt,...
Not on display
Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) commissioned this marble bust of himself from the sculptor John Warrington Wood in Rome in 1881. It was remodelled from a bust sculpted by Wood in London in 1869, which was exhibited the following year at the Royal Academy. Layard was not pleased with the original...
Not on display
The unidentified young woman in this portrait turns to look at us with a slight smile. Her youth is emphasised by her pale downy flesh and the bloom on her cheeks, which echoes the delicate pinks in some of the flowers with which she is garlanded.Tocqué uses areas of textured thick white paint, k...
Not on display
We look across the Grand Canal towards the facade of the domed church of San Simeone Piccolo, completed in 1738 – it dwarfs the surrounding houses and a small workmen’s hut to the left. People potter along the quayside and climb the church’s steps to take a closer look. On the canal, several gond...
Not on display
This is a painting of sheer animal power. Brilliant white light builds up the turbulence and excitement of the scene. Rosa Bonheur has made the convulsion of the muscles and the flying manes almost tangible, capturing the rearing, plunging animals and the strength and dexterity of their handlers...
This imaginary landscape in the flatlands of the Low Countries conjures a remarkably effective illusion of a vast panorama opening up before us. Koninck has used two particular techniques to create this effect. He’s made the figure in the middle ground the most prominent and painted the landscape...
Not on display
Wynn Ellis MP (1790–1875) was the National Gallery’s greatest benefactor in the second half of the nineteenth century. He made his fortune in the silk trade and sat in the House of Commons as Liberal MP for Leicester from 1831 to 1834.He began buying paintings in the mid-1820s and had a strong li...
Not on display
Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, is condemned to be crucified by Pontius Pilate. ‘Ecce Homo’ (‘Behold the man’) were the words used by Pilate when he presented Christ to the people before the Crucifixion (John 19: 2–5). Pilate, wearing a turban, raises his hand to indicate that he is speaki...
Not on display
This small picture once made up a diptych (a folding painting in two parts) with another in our collection, the Mater Dolorosa. It was probably intended for private devotion: Christ’s pain was meant to inspire empathy in the viewer, who was encouraged to meditate upon his suffering as a means of...
Not on display
Turbulent grey clouds roll across the sky. The lake beneath it is calm, but a storm threatens. It’s evening, and a tiny sailing boat in the distance is little more than a smudge on the horizon against the vivid orange and gold of the dying sun. Soft red reflections streak the surface of the water...
According to the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene wept when she saw that the tomb in which Christ had been buried was empty. A man appeared and asked her why she was crying – she eventually recognised him as Christ, and reached out to touch him. He stopped her: ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascen...
Not on display
Panini painted a number of imaginary scenes in which a known monument is set within a fanciful arrangement of ruins. The crumbling stone pyramid here is based on the tomb of Caius Cestius in Rome, but all of the other elements are invented. Remnants of the city’s classical past fill the foregroun...
Not on display
This elegant blonde woman with a jewelled crown and a martyr’s palm is Saint Catherine of Alexandria. She rests her left hand on the edge of the spiked wheel, just visible in the corner – she was tortured on one, and it became her attribute (a symbol traditionally associated with her).The strang...
Not on display
Jacob van Ruisdael’s washerwomen are strong and sturdy. One stands in the river up to her ankles and raises a stick to beat the linen she’s washing, while her companion stoops to rinse a cloth. Behind them a heap of dirty washing awaits the attention of their brawny arms. Their dog lifts his head...
Not on display
This is the earliest of four known portraits of John Julius Angerstein (1735–1823) by his friend Thomas Lawrence, probably painted around 1790 when Lawrence was about 20. It seems to have been painted impromptu on top of an unfinished portrait of a different man, which is now starting to show thr...
Not on display
Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, is condemned to be crucified by Pontius Pilate. ‘Ecce Homo’ (‘Behold the man’) were the words used by Pilate when he presented Christ to the people before the Crucifixion (John 19: 2–5). Pilate, wearing a turban, raises his hand to indicate that he is speaki...
Not on display
A young woman, dressed in a dazzling yellow skirt and red bodice, semi-reclines in a dark landscape setting, of which only some rocks and plants in the foreground are visible. Her wings and the trumpets she holds identify her as the allegorical figure of Fame. Normally Fame is shown with a single...
Two young women lie by a river. Traditionally, such a scene would be set in an idyllic landscape, with the women as impossibly perfect ideals of youth and beauty, often in the guise of classical nudes – goddesses of Greek mythology. But this pair caused a scandal when a larger version (now in the...
A boy sits in a dark room, but a glimmer of light through the window reveals his face and the dead mouse he holds in one hand. The other hand covers the mousetrap. This is not a portrait but an imaginary situation, intended as an entertainment and, possibly, a moral lesson.The boy lifts his chin...
This is the second painting in Lancret’s series The Four Times of Day. A sculpted cherub (Love) sits on top of a sundial, the shadow of which points to the Roman numerals for 12 inscribed into the stone. The man and two women note the moment on the sundial, and one of the ladies holds her pocket...
Not on display
This work is almost a portrait of a building: the imposing facade of the Palazzo Grimani fills nearly the entire composition. Boatmen emerge from the left and right just in front of us, adding a sense of movement, while figures composed of dots and daubs of paint stand on the palace’s steps.Palaz...
Not on display
We are looking into a refined room, its walls adorned with paintings in gilded frames and its door obscured by a heavy green curtain. A man in a black robe and white wig, perhaps a Venetian nobleman, bows to a young girl, whose elegant white dress stands out against the vivid green patterned dama...
Not on display
An angry light breaks through threatening clouds, illuminating a wave that beats up against the side of a galjoot, the small boat keeling over with the wind. An explosion of white spray looks almost as if it is reaching up to swallow the man hauling in the foresail. The blue and white flag at the...
Not on display
Domesticity reigns in this exquisite little picture. A delightfully pretty Virgin Mary balances a squirming, curly-haired Christ Child on her knee. She herself is perched rather precariously on a laundry basket, and her nephew, the young Saint John the Baptist, tugs at her blue mantle. On the oth...
This painting shows a romanticised view of peasant life in Oudewater, a small town on the River Ijssel situated between Gouda and Utrecht. Clothes have been hung out to dry in the sunshine, chickens peck at the cobbled street and a man dangles a makeshift fishing rod into the river in the hope of...
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