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30 of 2,644 paintings
The cold is almost tangible in Jan van Goyen’s evocation of life on the ice in a seventeenth-century Dutch winter. The horizon is low and the sky vast, so we are on a level with the people portrayed. A bank of grey cloud hovers overhead, just moving enough to let in the pale sun and allow a glimm...
Not on display
One of Gauguin’s favourite paintings was Cézanne’s Still Life with Compotier, Glass and Apple, (1879–80, Museum of Modern Art, New York), which he acquired for his own collection around 1880.This still life is a homage to that picture, and repeats many of its elements: the fruit, the pottery, the...
Not on display
This sketch was painted from the bottom of the gorge at Tivoli, looking up at the steep rocky cliff and the Cascatelli falls. Closson chose to concentrate on the dramatic contrast between the texture and colours of the cascading waters and the foliage growing on the cliff rock. At the centre of t...
Not on display
This is a fragment of a scene showing the Adoration of the Kings, which was part of an altarpiece made for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn. Two of the three kings kneel before the Christ Child, who lies in the Virgin Mary’s lap on a white cloth. They had followed a star to fin...
This painting illustrates the belief that Christ was both human and divine: the embodiment of the ‘Two Trinities’. At the centre of the composition the Christ Child forms part of the Heavenly Trinity with the dove of the Holy Ghost and God the Father above, and part of the Earthly Trinity with hi...
Not on display
This painting is part of Romanino’s high altarpiece for S. Alessandro in Brescia. It depicts Saint Gaudioso and is situated to the left of an image of the Nativity, above a panel of Saint Alexander.Saint Gaudioso was included in the altarpiece as he was a fifth-century bishop of Brescia. He died...
It has previously been thought that this portrait may represent one of the elder sons of Duke Cosimo de' Medici, Bronzino's principal patron. Scholars have also suggested he may be the sculptor Pierino da Vinci or the painter Francesco Salviati. However, each of these theories is in some way prob...
Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians, sits serenely at a table, holding a palm – the symbol of her martyrdom – in one hand and a sheet of music in the other. On the left is a portable organ; on the right an angel leans on a harp. In the top right corner we can glimpse the upper parts of a cl...
Not on display
This large picture was Seurat’s first major composition, painted when he had not yet turned 25. He intended it to be a grand statement with which he would make his mark at the official Salon in the spring of 1884, but it was rejected.Several men and boys relax on the banks of the Seine at Asnière...
The Virgin Mary has collapsed with grief after learning that Christ, her son, has accepted his inevitable death as the will of God and is making to leave for Jerusalem. The episode is not recorded in the Bible, but it appears in a fourteenth-century German devotional text as well as in Passion pl...
A man with blue eyes and a brown beard – slightly reddish below his mouth – looks out at us from this small picture. We don't know who he is but his black hat, known as a biretta, and his clothing indicate that he is a priest or a lawyer. He may well have been an important person: Corneille de Ly...
The demure young woman in this portrait is Susanna Stefan of Nuremberg. The picture may well have been painted around the time of her marriage to Wolfgang Furter, probably along with a pendant portrait of her husband. A damaged inscription gives her age as 18 and a date in the 1560s; the coats of...
Panini specialised in architectural views and painted about 30 pictures of the monumental interior of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome over several decades. This is a view of the main entrance, looking down the nave towards the tomb of Saint Peter. We look out over the church from an elevated position...
Not on display
Laurits Andersen Ring often painted the small village of Baldersbrønde on Zealand, Denmark’s largest island, where he lived for a number of years. This painting is a fine example of his unsentimental approach to the realities of rural life. He uses an almost monochrome colour scheme to create a b...
We seem to have crept to within touching distance of this small group of musicians who turn towards us with surprise. The highly focused light source creates sharp highlights, intense shadows and a sense both of drama and intimacy. Dramatic lighting effects like this are now common, but in the 16...
This work is based on an original by El Greco which now hangs in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. It’s a scene of Christ in torment, moments before his arrest – we can see the soldiers coming for him to the right.According to the Gospels, Christ retreated to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, askin...
In August 1874 Manet began work on a large picture of the Brasserie de Reichshoffen, where he was fascinated by the skill of the waitresses. While working on the picture, he radically altered his plans and cut it in two, completing each half separately. This snapshot view of the cafe is the right...
Not on display
This middle-aged man regards us with a serious and thoughtful gaze. Greuze took great care painting his face, using a series of glazes to capture his slightly droopy eyes, barely parted lips, pink cheeks and light grey stubble. His blue velvet jacket is decorated with a gold trim and gold-coloure...
Not on display
In a vaulted green hall, Pope Honorious III blesses Saint Francis of Assisi, watched by assembled cardinals and various others. This is the third of a series of eight panels depicting episodes from Saint Francis’s life. They were part of a sumptuous double-sided altarpiece Sassetta made for the...
This altarpiece was commissioned by the family of Hermann Rinck, who was burgomaster (or mayor) of Cologne three times in the 1480s, after his death in around 1496. It stood on the altar of their family chapel in the church of Saint Columba in the city.The altarpiece is in the form of a triptych...
Not on display
This balding, grey-bearded saint can be identified as Saint Peter by the keys which he rests on his thigh and supports with his right hand. These are the keys to the kingdom of heaven, which Christ gave Peter as a symbol of his spiritual power. The keys themselves are unusually slender and elonga...
This arched panel was originally the top of a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) which Crivelli painted for the Franciscan church at Montefiore dell'Aso near Fermo in the Italian Marches.Two sad, child-like angels hold up Christ’s lifeless body, one nestling his head sorrowfully against Jesu...
This little scene was once hidden on the inside of a cupboard door – damage on the left hand border shows that there was once a door hinge there. Its reverse – the front of the door – is decorated with abstract patterns.The story tells how the Blessed Reginald, once the dean to the Bishop of Orle...
The Virgin Mary and Christ Child are seated on a wooden throne with steps, raising them above the other figures. To their right is Saint Dominic, who founded the Dominican Order in the twelfth century; on the other side is Saint Catherine of Siena, who was also a member of the Dominicans in the f...
Not on display
This panel is part of the predella (lowest section) of a large altarpiece. The altarpiece’s central panel shows the Virgin and Child, and panels on either side show narrative scenes of the lives of saints.The original predella showed Christ in the centre, surrounded by the 12 apostles, his follow...
Not on display
Perseus and Andromeda’s wedding feast has been violently interrupted by Phineas, to whom Andromeda was formerly betrothed. Giordano has illustrated the dramatic moment when Phineas and his followers attack Perseus. Heavily outnumbered, Perseus has unveiled the severed head of the gorgon Medusa, w...
Christ kneels in prayer and looks up at an angel who holds a chalice. This is the beginning of the Passion (Christ’s torture and crucifixion), when Christ prayed in the garden at Gethsemane: knowing that he is to die, Christ asks God to ‘take this cup away from my lips’. A companion panel, Christ...
The Virgin Mary, regal and refined, is seated on an inlaid stone throne with the Christ Child on her knee. Two musical angels with multi-coloured wings balance on the back of the throne, and there is a Latin inscription on the front of the marble parapet beneath it: REGINA CELI LETTARE ALLELVIA (...
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
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