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30 of 2,644 paintings
During the Dutch Revolt of 1568–1648, when the northern Netherlands fought against their Spanish overlords, military scenes became increasingly popular. Willem Duyster was one of the artists who specialised in guardroom scenes showing soldiers relaxing off duty. Most such pictures were peaceful b...
Not on display
These three oil sketches, or modelli, were made by Rubens in preparation for an altarpiece for St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, which was commissioned by Bishop Maes around 1611. The central panel shows Saint Bavo, a Roman solider who left the military to join the Christian Church, standing on the ste...
Not on display
The blind old man Tobit, a merchant and devout Jew, sent his son, Tobias, on a long journey to collect a debt. God sent the Archangel Raphael – the winged figure on the left of the scene – to accompany Tobias and his dog.Tobias carries a fish that he has gutted; Raphael holds its organs in a litt...
Not on display
One of the most famous paintings in the National Gallery, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne illustrates a story told by the classical authors Ovid and Catullus. The Cretan princess Ariadne has been abandoned on the Greek island of Naxos by Theseus, whose ship sails away in the distance. Bacchus, god o...
Jakob Schlesinger (1792–1855) made this tracing in 1822 of the Sistine Madonna by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483–1520). Drawn in pencil, it is formed of 24 pieces of paper pasted together and mounted on a canvas the same size as the painting. Schlesinger was a painter and picture re...
Not on display
A saint holding a lily and a book gazes upwards, seemingly untroubled by the curved knife which splits his skull and the dagger in his shoulder. His hair is tonsured (shaved) to show that he was a member of a religious order, and he wears the black and white uniform of the Dominicans. This is Pet...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary and Christ Child are seated in a leafy grove, accompanied by an angel and the young Saint John the Baptist, Christ’s cousin. Saint John holds a cross wound with a scroll inscribed ‘ECCE AGNUS DEI’ (‘Behold the Lamb of God’), referring to Christ’s future sacrifice for humankind, an...
Not on display
In the right foreground lies the ruined shell of what must have been a grand building. To the left of it stands a lone figure, bundled up in clothing that is blown to one side in the breeze. Behind the ruins the ground drops quite sharply to the plain, which is dotted with rows of trees in the ma...
This large and well-stocked kitchen is a hive of industry. Four female servants prepare and cook food while a young man perches on a stool before the fire, swigging from an earthenware jug. Pots and pans litter the brick floor and every available surface seems stacked with produce.This is one of...
The Christ Child looks up at the Virgin Mary, raising the index finger of his right hand as though he is preaching, which refers to his divine authority. The Virgin’s cloak would have originally appeared more blue, but the pigment, azurite, has changed over time.The bold colours of the striped te...
Not on display
This tiny picture, measuring only 10 by 6 cm, is framed with two other views of picturesque ruins in imaginary Italian settings (such paintings are known as capricci). One shows an elegant couple and the other depicts a man and child surrounded by soaring architecture. In the foreground of this s...
Not on display
The most celebrated still life painter of his day, de Heem made a number of innovations in the art of flower painting. Here, stems and tendrils burst out from his bouquet, adding movement and dynamism to the composition. The flowers face different directions and extend out from the vase, in marke...
Not on display
Reynolds portrays Banastre Tarleton (1754–1833) aged 27, in action as commandant of the British Legion cavalry in the War of American Independence. Tarleton was famed for his reckless bravery and savagery, as well as for his vanity. He later became MP for Liverpool and defended the slave trade, o...
Adriaen Brouwer worked in Antwerp from 1631. This painting used to be attributed to him, but is now believed to be by another, somewhat clumsier hand – perhaps one of his apprentices imitating his style. The picture is similar to those usually depicted by Brouwer: humorous everyday scenes of peas...
Not on display
This is one of 12 small pictures that together show the ‘labours of the months’ – the activities that take place each month throughout the farming year.A young huntsman in a red cap and jacket holds the leashes of his two hounds. He looks at his hawk, which perches on his hand. A hunting horn is...
Not on display
Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, is condemned to be crucified by Pontius Pilate. ‘Ecce Homo’ (‘Behold the man’) were the words used by Pilate when he presented Christ to the people before the Crucifixion (John 19: 2–5). Pilate, wearing a turban, raises his hand to indicate that he is speaki...
Not on display
Small-scale images of the Virgin and Child made for private worship were a speciality of Bellini’s. This picture was thought to be by the artist’s assistants, but recent technical analysis showed that it was made by Bellini. The holy figures are separated from a landscape by a cloth of honour, an...
Stories of the misdeeds of the Greek and Roman gods were popular subjects for paintings in the seventeenth century. Pieter Lastman had been to Rome and seen the innovative paintings of Caravaggio and his followers. He takes on their use of chiaroscuro – the dramatic use of light and shadow – and...
Following his defeat at the Battle of Leipzig of 1813, Napoleon and his army were forced to retreat to France. This picture shows one of Napoleon’s last military successes on French soil before his initial fall from power. On 11 February 1814 he defeated two allied forces – the Russians and the P...
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...
In this painting from early in Moretto’s career, Christ blesses his cousin Saint John the Baptist, who kneels beside a river, wearing a tunic of camel skin. This episode is not mentioned in the Gospels and is not otherwise known in art. It may be that Christ has just been baptised by the saint in...
The small quayside of El Arenal is now in the centre of Bilbao, a city in the Basque region of northern Spain, but it was once used as a promenade and for unloading cargo from ships. The view is today dominated by buildings but Paret’s picturesque scene takes in the elegant walkway along the rive...
Not on display
In 1871 Monet moved with his family to Argenteuil, a suburb north-west of Paris. During his six-year stay there he painted around 200 pictures of the town and its surroundings. This picture is one of 18 Argenteuil canvases that record the snowy winter of 1874/5. The figures trudging along the roa...
Not on display
This painting shows Clare, a holy woman who lived in Rimini from the late thirteenth to early fourteenth centuries. According to her biography she had a vision of Christ enthroned and surrounded by the apostles and John the Baptist. Christ – the largest figure in this scene – showed her the wound...
A small saint, hands clasped and gazing at the ground, stands against a dark background, his face contorted in pain and distress. This is Saint John the Evangelist, and he comes from a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) painted by Jacopo di Antonio in Florence in around 1450. It was made for...
Not on display
We don't know the identity of the artist, but he painted a group of works for Franciscan patrons in and around Assisi. These include the image of Saint Francis for the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, after which he is named.He made several painted Crosses on this scale. They were probably for...
This is Henry Dawkins II (1727–1814) of Over Norton, Oxfordshire; Standlynch Park, Wiltshire and Portman Square, London. He was a member of the Jamaica Assembly during the years 1752–8, and a member of its Council in 1758–9. His fortune was made through the ownership of slaves. By May 1759 he had...
Not on display
Jacob van Ruisdael was the foremost seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painter, and even paved the way for the rural scenes Thomas Gainsborough painted in England in the eighteenth century. Gainsborough admired and made copies of van Ruisdael’s work, but rather than the pastoral views that appea...
Not on display
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
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