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30 of 2,654 paintings
These saints come from a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) painted in about 1450 for the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Pratovecchio, Tuscany. Other parts of this altarpiece are also in the National Gallery.San Giovanni was a Camaldolese nunnery and the saints on its altarpieces were...
Not on display
The design of this tender image of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child and an angel is derived from a picture by Fra Filippo Lippi, the Florentine painter and monk. It was a popular composition in Florence and there are numerous versions of it by different artists. The semi-transparent veil wit...
A description on the reverse of this painting identifies it as a landscape near Annecy, a medieval town adjacent to a large lake in the Haute-Savoie region of France. The exact location has not been identified, however. As was usual in his landscapes, Renoir has used strong colour combinations, o...
Saint Sebastian stands naked, covered only by a translucent loincloth. His youthful body is lean and muscly, and its strength, along with his upright pose and calm gaze, is at odds with the 12 arrows that pierce his flesh.According to the Golden Legend, a thirteenth-century compilation of the liv...
This is a fragment of an altarpiece made for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn. It comes from the central scene, which depicted the Crucifixion; a fragment showing Christ’s head is also in the National Gallery’s collection. It was common for Crucifixion scenes to include the Vir...
A warship keels over in the face of an advancing storm, a Dutch flag flying boldly at its mainmast, the arms of the Province of Holland on its stern. The gun ports are open, the cannon out at the ready – probably for practice. A small fishing boat is tossed about on the crest of the wash left beh...
Not on display
Painted chests like this are called cassone (literally ‘a large chest’). They were made to celebrate a marriage and were often used to store a new bride’s dresses and linens. Cassone were in such high demand in Florence that painters like Apollonio di Giovanni had workshops specialising in their...
Not on display
Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet is known chiefly for his lithographs – he produced around 2,000 of them – but he also worked in other media, including oil sketches such as this one. Children often appear in his pictures, their spontaneous behaviour gently mocking social customs and pretensions.In this...
Guardi’s picture takes in the view across the Grand Canal, towards some of the grandest palaces in Venice: the imposing facade of the Palazzo Pesaro is in the centre and the Palazzo Corner della Regina at the far left.A funeral boat glides along the water, carrying churchmen and ornate burning ca...
Not on display
This small painting of the Pentecost shows Giotto’s skill at transforming complex biblical stories into images that were easy to decipher. Jesus’s followers were gathered together 50 days after his Crucifixion to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Weeks. A strong wind began to blow and flames like ‘to...
We do not know this young woman’s identity. She wears an elaborate black velvet gown, the bodice of which is decorated with embroidery in white and gold thread and rows of vertical slashes through which the white fabric of her chemise can be seen. She stands before a green silk curtain and a tabl...
Not on display
Christ is shown resurrected after dying at the Crucifixion, his triumph over death reinforced by the way he cradles the Cross on which he was crucified. His body is weak and pale – we can see his ribcage, and his cheekbones stick out of his gaunt face. The focus of the image is the wound in Chris...
In this vast canvas Orazio Gentileschi depicts the Old Testament story of the Finding of Moses (Exodus 2:2-10). When Pharaoh decreed that all newborn sons of Hebrews should be killed, the infant Moses was placed by his mother in a basket and hidden in bulrushes to ensure his safety.Here, nine ele...
This painting on canvas, together with another Group of Heads, is a copy of part of Correggio’s destroyed fresco, The Coronation of the Virgin, which was painted in the apse of S. Giovanni Evangelista in Parma. A number of fragments of Correggio’s original fresco are also in the National Gallery’...
Not on display
Paulus Theodorus van Brussel’s arrangement of fruit and flowers reveals the eighteenth-century taste for paintings depicting the exotic and expensive set in artful disarray against the faint background of a garden. It’s a celebration of the bounty of nature and is, at the same time, an appealing...
Not on display
Small-scale images of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child made for private worship were one of Bellini’s specialities, and there was intense demand for them. Bellini had a large workshop of assistants who worked under his supervision, producing paintings in his style. This is one of those works, whi...
Not on display
This panel was most probably the right-hand wing of a diptych (a painting made up of two panels), and was probably made in Cologne in the 1530s. The location of the left-hand panel is unknown, but it most probably showed the dead Christ.The figures huddle together and look in the direction of the...
This scene shows the Dogana da Mar (Customs House), which was built in about 1677, and the entrance to the Grand Canal. Over the gateway to the canal is a golden globe with a weather vane in the shape of Fortune, personified as the mistress of the sea. With almost no land, Venice depended on mari...
Not on display
This undulating countryside of ancient sand dunes, found around Haarlem, forms the background to the vast majority of paintings by local artist Jan Wijnants. But while he captured the spirit and atmosphere of these sand hills, he also – like most painters of the time – exaggerated for effect. The...
Not on display
A young girl in three-quarters view looks up and out of the picture to the left. Her transparent shawl, known as a fichu, covers one shoulder but has fallen off the other. Her white muslin dress is only loosely held up over her chest, an effect enhanced by her bodice having come undone. There was...
This mysterious landscape of a wood bounded by the sweeping curve of a river was, for its time, highly innovative. Instead of using trees to create a frame for an attractive view, which was the traditional approach, Cornelis Vroom has made the wood itself the focus.Yet he has still managed to cre...
Not on display
The great ship running before the wind in the centre of Bakhuizen’s picture is the Eendracht, one of the most famous vessels in the Dutch Navy. Built in 1653, the Eendracht was the 76-gun flagship of Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer van Obdam.Bakhuizen painted the Eendracht several times bu...
Not on display
The comte de Vaudreuil was only eighteen when his portrait was painted by Drouais in 1758. He was the son of the governor and commander-general of Saint-Domingue, at that time a French colony on the western end of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which is why he points to it on a map.Vaudreuil...
People are hard at work on boats beside the small island of San Pietro in Castello, the eastern part of Venice. While the nearby district of San Marco was popular with tourists, as it is today, this quieter corner of the city was largely a working-class neighbourhood. Its residents sailed between...
Following Jewish tradition, Christ was circumcised when he was eight days old (Luke 2: 21). Seated on his mother’s lap, Christ reaches out to the mohel, the man who will perform the surgery, who holds a fine blade. The vibrantly coloured marble floor tiles are designed to attract the viewer’s att...
A seated nun and a schoolgirl hold a skipping rope for three girls as another nun and more girls approach to join them. The ruins of the Tuileries Palace can be seen in the background.Lépine painted over a dozen views of the gardens which surrounded the Tuileries Palace in Paris. The Parisian res...
An angry tide surges around two small transport boats heading for disaster under a stormy sky. The crew of the kaag, desperate to avoid collision with the fast approaching smalschip, have released the horizontal spar to take the wind out of the mainsail. This way, the vessel will slow and – with...
Not on display
This painting of a simple chair set on a bare floor of terracotta tiles is one of Van Gogh’s most iconic images. It was painted in late 1888, soon after fellow artist Paul Gauguin had joined him in Arles in the south of France. The picture was a pair to another painting, Gauguin’s Chair (Van Gogh...
You've viewed 30 of 2,654 paintings