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30 of 2,623 paintings
Threatened with marriage to a monster Psyche, a mortal, is blown away by the West Wind. She awakens near a magical palace and falls in love with Cupid. He makes Psyche promise not to look at his divine face, but she breaks this promise and Cupid abandons her. The subject of this painting is taken...
The unusual horn-shaped cap and sumptuous silk robes identify this man as a doge, the elected ruler of Venice. We can‘t be sure who he is, but he has been identified in the past as Doge Niccolò Marcello, who was in power briefly from 1473 to 1474. A medal (Bode Museum, Berlin) inscribed with Marc...
According to the Old Testament Book of Exodus, the Israelites and their flock were thirsty after failing to find water during their long journey through Egypt. God instructed Moses to stand in front of the people with the elders of Israel and strike the rock of Horeb with his staff. A fresh strea...
Not on display
The damaged inscription to the right of the Virgin describes her: Maria, mater humilitatis (‘Mary, mother of humility’). The so-called Virgin of Humility is usually shown, as here, seated on the ground, but with the Christ Child breastfeeeding. In Venice, a city with which this artist had close t...
Not on display
Barent Fabritius’s bleak, shadowy stable is coldly lit. The rays radiating from the Christ Child in the manger light up the people close to him, but even they bring little comfort. Only the deep, dusty pink of Mary’s gown and the shepherd’s extraordinary red hat bring a touch of warmth to the sce...
Not on display
Apollo in a red cloak shoots his arrows at two one-eyed men, one of whom lies prostrate on the ground as the other flees. These are the Cyclops, a mythical race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. This scene is one of ten frescoes which originally adorned the walls o...
The lady in Bartholomeus van der Helst’s portrait may be unknown now, but she appears to have been a woman of some status. Standing out against a severe, plain black background, her clothes announce her wealth and status – and little else. Although she appears modest and unassuming her gaze is di...
On display elsewhere
This is one of three sections of a predella, the lowest part of an altarpiece. The main panels of the altarpiece show the Virgin and Child, surrounded by narrative scenes of the lives of the saints. The predella originally showed Christ at the centre with the 12 apostles, his followers who preach...
Not on display
We are looking through a gilded arch into a small chapel in which the Virgin is breastfeeding the Christ Child to an angelic musical accompaniment. She cradles him in her arms, and looks down affectionately as he hungrily squeezes her breast.This is one of around 60 versions of a lost painting by...
Not on display
A wine glass, a flask-shaped carafe, a knife and a plate of fruit are shown on a table, set against a flat dark background. The table is covered by a cloth decorated with flowers and blue stripes that help create a sense of recession into depth.Most of Monticelli’s still life paintings were made...
Not on display
The sun sets roughly in the centre of the picture, behind two tree trunks. The thick yellow paint expands from the sky to the foreground, and Monticelli has applied it using short, directional brushstrokes which allow him better to convey the light. Portions of the wooden panel used as a support...
Not on display
Mrs Hollond (1822–1884), born Ellen Julia Teed, was the wife of the pioneering balloonist and MP Robert Hollond. She was a writer and philanthropist who lived for part of each year in Paris, where she held a salon that attracted intellectuals of a progressive cast of mind. Ary Scheffer was a pain...
Not on display
This elegant young man’s identity is revealed on the strip of paper or parchment curled around the pole. The inscription is now difficult to read, but appears to say: Lodovico Martinengo at the age of _ years. Painted by Bartolomeo Veneto 16 June 1530.When the picture was first acquired by the Na...
Not on display
The Book of Tobit, an apocryphal book of the Old Testament, tells the story of Anna and Tobit, the married couple depicted in this painting. Their faith was tested by God: they were reduced to poverty and Tobit was blinded. With the help of the Archangel Raphael, their son Tobias eventually resto...
Not on display
This intimate view of Venice, weatherbeaten and dilapidated, is one of Canaletto’s masterpieces. In the early morning sun, workmen chisel away at pieces of stone. Everyday life continues around them: a mother rushes to comfort her crying child, watched by a woman on the balcony above.This square...
William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh steps forward, gun in hand. He is shown life-size. We look up at him from below, which emphasises his commanding pose, but the elegance and urbanity usually present in Anthony van Dyck’s formal portraits seems to be missing. This is partly because of the Earl...
From around 1842 and into the 1850s Courbet painted about 20 self portraits in which he presented himself in different guises. This portrait is a reduced version of The Man with the Leather Belt (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), which Courbet painted around 1845–6.Courbet painted replicas of at least three...
On display elsewhere
An old man seated in a train carriage is interrupted in his reverie by our arrival with its hope that the boredom of a long journey will be alleviated. The painting is a character study of a uniquely modern experience, train travel, for which the model was Mancini’s father, Paolo, formerly a tail...
On display elsewhere
On the Greek island of Patmos, Saint John the Evangelist had a vision of the Woman of the Apocalypse, which he recorded in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Here he sits with an oversized book in his lap, his quill pen poised, and looks towards the tiny illuminated female figure hovering in t...
Although damaged, we can tell that this is an original work by Anthonis Mor. His sitters are usually lit from above and the left; their noses are narrow but have deep shadows and the eyes are too widely spaced. We don't know the identity of the sitter, but the cut of his hair, and the long beard...
Not on display
This panel is a section of a predella, the lowest part of an altarpiece. The main panels of the altarpiece show the Virgin and Child and narrative scenes of the lives of saints. The predella originally showed Christ surrounded the 12 apostles, his followers who preached his message after his deat...
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...
Not on display
The Virgin looks up from her book at us and Christ, sitting on her lap, gestures to himself – his future crucifixion is the subject of her text. The young Saint John the Baptist, wearing his traditional rough camel skin, clasps his hands in prayer.Saint Paul stands to the left holding his usual a...
Not on display
This is a view of Lake Thun on the River Aare in the Berner Oberland (Bernese Highlands), Switzerland. The sunlit snowy peak in the distance has been identified as the Blümlisalp, but it also has some resemblance to the Jungfrau.Raised near Lake Geneva, Calame knew the Swiss landscape well and so...
Not on display
While resting in a leafy grove, the nymph Callisto believed she heard the goddess Diana greet her. But it was Jupiter disguised as Diana. Here Callisto seems to realise her mistake. As Jupiter caresses Callisto’s cheek, she places her right hand protectively on her thigh. Her knees bend in a curt...
Not on display
Two peasant women and a child stand on the left, and black and white cart horses on the right. In the background two wagons are fully loaded with hay, and a dog perches on top of the one in the centre. The skyline of a village is shown in the distance.Monticelli made a number of paintings of peas...
On display elsewhere
This large painting shows the three divine beings of the Trinity: God the Father supports his son, Christ, who is shown crucified; he seems minute by comparison. The Holy Ghost is represented by a dove that hovers between the two. On either side, an angel kneels in adoration.The simple colour sch...
A dark-haired young man turns to look at us sidelong. Who is he? Tantalising clues have been included in the painting.He wears two red-stoned rings on the little finger of his left hand, and may be holding a folded glove, which is sometimes the symbol of a love pledge. A coat of arms was once pai...
Not on display
You've viewed 30 of 2,623 paintings