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30 of 2,644 paintings
An older man sits, legs crossed and head bowed, absorbed in his reading. This is Cézanne’s father, Louis-Auguste. He was probably in his early sixties when his son painted this portrait directly onto an alcove wall in the salon of Jas de Bouffan, the country residence outside Aix-en-Provence that...
Christ kneels on a grassy hillock, hands folded in prayer, and looks up at a floating angel who carries a chalice. At the front, three of the apostles slumber, heads resting on their arms or hands. Soldiers wearing fantastic Renaissance versions of classical armour approach from the sides, led by...
This was once the left wing of a triptych (a painting made up of three sections) which showed a man and woman with their patron saints on either side of an image of the Virgin and Christ Child.Here, Saint Clement stands behind a man, presumably the male donor who paid for the triptych. The anchor...
This panel and The Massacre of the Innocents once formed a single image, with this scene on the right. It was cut into two before entering the National Gallery’s collection. The bearded man wearing a crown is King Herod – he is overseeing the massacre of infants that he had ordered in an attempt...
Not on display
The young man in this portrait leans on a stone ornament, confident and at his ease. Dressed fashionably in black, with large amounts of expensive lace on show, he has a falling collar – a relatively new trend in Holland – and a multitude of tiny buttons down the front of his coat. The black sati...
This is thought to have been painted during a stay in Cassino, south of Rome, by Russell and his wife in 1889, but also recalls the landscape near Antibes, south-east France, visited by the artist in 1890–1. He portrays the sun-bleached landscape with a bold use of such colours as pink, yellow, a...
In 1871 Monet settled in Argenteuil, a small suburban town on the Seine just nine kilometres and a fifteen-minute train journey from Paris. Already partially industrialised, Argenteuil was also famous as a centre for pleasure boating, and Monet was particularly attracted by its regattas and sail...
Cupid, the god of erotic love, is complaining to his mother, Venus, the goddess of love: he has been stung by bees after stealing a honeycomb. Venus directs her attention towards the viewer instead. Her narrowed gaze appears flirtatious and she clutches the branch of an apple tree, evocative of t...
Dark groups of figures stand out against the light of the pale blue and silver sky. A huddled procession comes over the windswept dunes: two fishermen are carrying the body of dead man. Ahead of everyone else walks a woman, presumably the widow, her two children clinging to her.The composition wa...
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
Christ kneels before his mother to ask for her blessing as he prepares to leave and follow his destiny. He is robed in white against the blueish landscape, his pose conveying a sense of delicacy and stillness. The Virgin Mary swoons, her face and hands drained of colour – she knows that her son i...
This full-length portrait is of Thomas Lister, who became the 4th (and last) Baron Ribblesdale in 1876, when he was just 22. He was a Liberal peer, a lord-in-waiting at court and a Trustee of both the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery.Plans to paint Lord Ribblesdale in formal hun...
Not on display
God the Father, seated on a cloud, holds a cross with the crucified Christ. The dove of the Holy Ghost hovers between them. Together they are known as the Trinity, the three elements which make up the Christian God. This kind of Trinity was especially suitable for an altarpiece: it emphasises Chr...
Not on display
Pale flowers glow in a soft light against the dark wall of an anonymous room. Pink hollyhocks flaunt dozens of tiny petals. Delicate white poppies face out towards us, the yellow pistil holding our gaze like a tiny eye. Above them a tall stem curves upwards, fat little buds clinging on to it, the...
Not on display
The tranquillity of the Campagna – the countryside around Rome – stretches far into the distance under a soft golden light. Muleteers, who lived by transporting goods on the backs of their patient mules, move at a leisurely pace across the mountainous landscape, its paths winding in and out of ro...
Not on display
Under the arches of a pink arcade, Bishop Guido of Assisi wraps his cloak around the naked Saint Francis of Assisi. The saint’s discarded boots, shirt and hose lie in a heap on the floor. To the left, Francis’s father, enraged by his son’s rejection of their wealthy lifestyle, has snatched up the...
This altarpiece was commissioned by Francesco de Strata for the high altar of his chapel in the church of S. Paolo in Vercelli. The altar was dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene, who appears twice in the painting. She stands in the place of honour on the right-hand side of the Virgin and Child, hol...
The Aeneid, an epic poem by the Roman writer Virgil, tells the story of Aeneas, a Trojan hero and son of the goddess Venus. In Book I, Aeneas comes to the city of Carthage. Worried for his safety, Venus devises a plot to protect him: she sends Cupid to the city disguised as Aeneas' son Ascanius,...
Girolamo Fracastoro (1476/8–1553), a celebrated medical doctor, as well as an astronomer, mathematician and poet, proposed the theory of contagion and in 1530 wrote an epic poem that gave the name ’syphilis' to the virulent, sexually transmitted disease that was ravaging Italy in that period.Alth...
This is a display of all the rich fruit, fish and fowl that could be found on a wealthy man’s table. Lobsters and chicken are placed close to the full basket of fruit – peaches, nectarines, a single black plum. A costly blue-and-white Chinese bowl stands next to it, full of wild strawberries. The...
Not on display
This portrait is probably of Francesco Albani, one of the leading citizens of Bergamo; the initials ‘FA’ are painted in reverse on his signet ring. The Albani supported Venetian rule in Bergamo, and Francesco was created a Knight of San Marco by the Venetians in 1516. This portrait may have been...
Not on display
A small, beady-eyed sparrow on one side of a set of scales heavily outweighs the gold and pearls which a weeping woman, two tears glistening on her cheeks, places in the other. Clearly, in the real word, this couldn't happen: the bird would be much the lighter than the jewellery. But this picture...
Not on display
The roses in the foreground of this painting, shown in various stages of development, and the poppy anemones in several shades, may have come from van Huysum’s own garden in Amsterdam, which was supplied by flower-growers from nearby Haarlem. Note how the light passes through the bouquet, creati...
Not on display
An unknown woman with a piercing gaze leans on a table, holding a closed fan in her left hand. The sitter’s elegant costume alludes to her wealth and status, as does the ornate silver ewer behind her. She is outdoors, under a cloudy sky.The portrait had traditionally been attributed to the celebr...
Not on display
This picture is either a copy of a mid-seventeenth-century Dutch painting, which is now lost, or an imitation or pastiche. As the paint contains a pigment that was not available to artists until the 1840s, it was most likely painted in the second half of the nineteenth century.The picture has pre...
Not on display
Although this picture shows an imagined interior rather than a real church, it is highly detailed. The lead of the windowpanes is visible, and the subjects of some of the paintings that hang on the pillars can be identified (on the closest pillar on the left, Christ is depicted with the woman of...
Not on display
Three men have followed a star – you can see it just inside the stable – to pay homage to the infant Christ. These wise men, sometimes called kings – here they all have crowns – are shown kneeling before him. One has set his crown aside and kisses the newborn’s foot, showing reverence to him.This...
Lady Jane Grey reigned for just nine days as Queen of England following the death of Edward VI in 1553: she was deposed by the faction supporting Edward’s half-sister and heir, Mary Tudor. Tried for treason, the 17-year-old Lady Jane was beheaded at Tower Hill on 12 February 1554.Delaroche shows...
Two figures stand and sit in the shadows at the edge of a wood and contemplate an ancient church almost shrouded in trees. Light filters down a pathway between them, giving an eerie feeling to the image. The picture has lost some of its colour and vibrancy, but even so it brings the imagination i...
Not on display
Mary Magdalene, wearing a red mantle over a startlingly see-through dress, kneels in prayer in a landscape. A splendid manuscript, presumably a Book of Hours, rests on a large, conveniently shaped rock in front of her. Although she is gazing inwards, her eyes unfocused, the object of her prayer a...
Not on display
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