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30 of 2,652 paintings
The Virgin holds the infant Christ close to her, drawing his cheek to her face. The pair are flanked by four saints. We can't be sure of their identities, but the one holding a book wears the brown robes of the Franciscans, a religious order of friars.The tender pose of mother and son derives fro...
Not on display
Charity is one of the theological virtues, together with Faith and Hope. From the sixteenth century onwards, Charity was commonly depicted as a mother suckling her infants. Here, one of the children looks at us and draws our attention to his mother’s example. Her breast is still exposed from feed...
Not on display
We see the skyline of Dordrecht, identifiable by the grey bulk of the Grote Kerk (Great Church) and the outlines of two of its watergates. The crenellations of the Vuilpoort (demolished in 1864) are in the centre, the tower of the Groothoofdspoort (which still survives) is on the right.The emphas...
Not on display
The focus of this large altarpiece is the tiny infant Christ – he lies on the ground, his head supported by a small cushion. His mother, the Virgin Mary, kneels behind him, surrounded by angels. Also gathered in worship are Mary’s husband Joseph and, to the left, four shepherds.The shepherds appe...
Not on display
Christ, barefoot and weeping but dressed in rich red and blue, is bent under the weight of the Cross. The spikes of the crown of thorns dig into his flesh, and crystal tears drip down his cheeks. He is dragging the Cross to his own crucifixion.The setting is not first-century Palestine, but Renai...
A man stands on the winding path beneath the dark, forbidding cliffs. He gazes out across the river, his white cap, coat and backpack lifting the bleakness of the cliffs behind him. High above him, the sun catches a strange construction on the cliff top and crosses the gap between the two halves...
Not on display
Saint Jerome kneels in penitence in the wilderness, where he spent four years living as a hermit. He has discarded his red cardinal’s robes and hat, revealing his colossal, muscular body. The strong light emphasises the athleticism of his physique, casting his pensive face into shadow. He touches...
Not on display
Filippo Fasanini, who died in 1531, instructed the executors of his will to commission this altarpiece for his chapel dedicated to Saint Philip and Saint James in S. Domenico, Bologna. It is signed on the throne’s plinth: IERONIMVS. TREVISIVS. P.[INXIT] (‘Girolamo of Treviso painted this’).Filipp...
This moody landscape is Jacob de Wet’s only landscape without biblical figures, though the stunted, windswept tree in the foreground and the castle tower behind it are repeated – with variations – in his painting Abraham and Melchizedek (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin). At this point in the...
Not on display
Cadmus, a prince of Tyre, travelled to the Delphic Oracle after his sister was stolen away by Zeus, chief of the Greek gods. There he was told that, instead of searching for his sister, he should ‘follow the cow outside and wherever it rests, build a new city’.When the cow stopped Cadmus’s follow...
In an elegant interior adorned with a landscape painting on the wall and a classical bust above the door, a man and a woman are making music together. The lady, clad in a luxurious red satin dress with gold embroidery, is standing with her back to us in front of a harpsichord. She looks down at t...
Not on display
A dark-haired lady wears a white headdress and a dark grey dress with a black yoke and brown fur linings in the sleeves. She is evidently well off: the neckline of her chemise is decorated with golden cords and rosettes, and she wears a gold chain and rings.This is Anna van Spangen, identifiable...
Not on display
Segna di Bonaventura, from Siena, was the nephew of Duccio di Buoninsegna, that city’s leading artist. They shared a love of flowing lines, harmonious colour combinations and graceful expression of emotion.Painted Crucifixes of this kind were common features of Italian churches in the thirteenth...
In this lively, informal portrait, Anthony van Dyck presents to us someone he had known for several years and whose company he clearly enjoyed. François Langlois was an engraver, art dealer and publisher who lived in Italy in the 1620s, which is where he must have met Van Dyck. Langlois was also...
A white cow, once a mortal woman named Io, emerges from the shadows at the edge of this picture. Io had caught the eye of the god Jupiter, and he had transformed her in order to protect her from the wrath of his wife Juno. The plan backfired when Juno decided to claim the animal for herself, sett...
Not on display
A black eagle soars into the clouds with a naked youth clutched in its talons. In Greek mythology, Jupiter was infatuated with the handsome youth Ganymede, whom he abducted in the guise of an eagle and carried away to the home of the gods, Mount Olympus, where he was made their cupbearer.The sole...
The Virgin is seated on the ground in a rural landscape outside a sixteenth-century town, as the ‘Madonna of Humility’. The Christ Child lies across her lap, and gazes up at her while she looks down tenderly. Our viewpoint is very low, so we are also looking up at the Virgin, like Christ. The gro...
Not on display
In this full-length portrait, Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu (1585–1642) wears the robe and skull cap of a cardinal. This position had been granted to him in 1622. His left hand lifts the robe to reveal a delicate layer of lace, also visible on his sleeves, beneath the great expanse of...
Paul Cézanne was about 40 years old when he painted this self portrait in Paris around 1880–1. He was now middle-aged with a family to support, and the intensity of his earlier self portraits has here given way to a more distant and reflective presence. Although relatively small, the portrait has...
Not on display
Scenes of mothers and children were fashionable in eighteenth-century France, much encouraged by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who advocated a ‘natural’ approach to child-rearing.A young mother is sitting in a beam of light at a table with three of her infants wriggling on her lap. An ol...
Not on display
Winged Father Time unveils Truth, who is dressed in white and rests her foot on a globe, symbolising the Earth from which she has sprung. With her left hand, Truth unmasks Deceit, while with her right she gestures to the four cardinal virtues: Prudence, holding a snake; Temperance, carrying a wat...
Not on display
Saint Francis of Assisi kneels in a rocky landscape, hands raised in prayer, gazing up at a vision of Christ floating in the sky. Christ has the six wings of a seraphim and his arms are extended as if on the Cross. Rays from Christ’s stigmata – the wounds he received at the Crucifixion – impress...
This peculiar object is a perspective box – a rectangular wooden cabinet painted on the inside and outside, and open on one end to let in light. The inside is painted in such a way that it’s only when we peer through a peephole – there’s one on either side of the cabinet – that we see the illusio...
Not on display
A young milkmaid with a brass pitcher on her head and a bucket in her hand leads her herd of cattle away for milking. The rising sun reflects in a pool and reaches through the trees to catch the sleek white hides of some of the cows. It’s an idyllic, rustic scene, yet there is energy: people are...
You've viewed 30 of 2,652 paintings