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30 of 2,620 paintings
Claude takes the subject of this painting from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The nymph Echo is in love with the beautiful youth Narcissus, who rejects her. In Claude’s painting, the goddess Nemesis punishes Narcissus by making him fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.The castle in the...
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
The glorious colours in this portrait are equalled by the delicacy and sensitivity with which Van Dyck has captured an intimate moment between us and an unknown woman and her little boy. She wears the formal clothing of an affluent bourgeois wife: a black silk dress with an elaborate gold stomach...
The inscription tells us that this is seventeen-year-old Stefano Nani from Auro painted by Licinio in the year 1528. Auro is a village in the Alps to the north of Brescia in Lombardy, which at the time was ruled by Venice.Stefano is presented as a pensive young man, gazing dreamily into the dista...
This life-size double portrait shows the youngest sons of the 3rd Duke of Lennox: Lord John Stuart, on the left, with his brother Lord Bernard Stuart. They were only about 17 and 18 but they ooze aristocratic superiority and are dressed in extravagant fashion.Van Dyck’s ability to evoke the textu...
This panel once formed the left shutter of an altarpiece in the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn in north-west Germany. The right-hand shutter is also in the National Gallery’s collection.This painting shows, from left to right, Saints Gregory, Maurice and Augustine. The gilded clasp that fastens Sa...
The central character of this painting is hidden in the shadows: a man with long hair and a beard who seems to draw the attention of the people gathered before him. This is Saint John the Baptist, standing on what looks like an improvised pulpit. The large crowd is divided between conversation an...
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
A barefoot and bearded saint sits in a rocky landscape, prayer beads in hand. Discarded behind him is a red cardinal’s hat, and he wears a cardinal’s ermine cape over his rough wool habit. This is Saint Jerome, monk, hermit and translator of the Bible.Here he seems to have been up all night worki...
Not on display
The enchantress Armida and her bewitched lover, Rinaldo, a Christian knight, recline in a beautiful landscape, surrounded by attendant cupids. The scene shows a tender moment between the couple before Rinaldo’s comrades, whose helmets are visible behind the bush on the left, disturb their idyll a...
Not on display
This large altarpiece – one of the few in the National Gallery which is almost complete – has had an eventful life. It was commissioned in 1455 from the Florentine painter Francesco Pesellino, and is his only surviving documented work. He died in 1457 and it was finished by Fra Filippo Lippi and...
Not on display
Although we don't know the identity of this woman, her clothing and the objects around her suggest that she was painted in around 1500 and most probably came from Cologne. The portrait was almost certainly part of a diptych (a painting made of two panels), which could have been hinged at the cent...
Not on display
This painting shows Lake Keitele in central Finland. The zigzag pattern on the water’s surface is a natural occurrence caused by the interaction of the wind with the lake’s currents, but it is also intended to evoke the wake created by Väinämöinen, the poet-hero of the Finnish saga Kalevala, as h...
The church we are looking into here – the Cunerakerk – still towers above the small town of Rhenen in the Netherlands. Bartholomeus van Bassen was an expert in painting church interiors such as these, often adding inventive details, though he employed other artists to paint the figures.The Cunera...
Not on display
Aert van der Neer was a specialist in painting landscapes with distinctive lighting effects – often under moonlight, or at the beginning or end of the day. The title given to this painting (probably in the eighteenth or nineteenth century) suggests that it’s set in the evening, though the cold bl...
Not on display
Saint Catherine rests her hand on a wheel studded with metal spikes – the instrument on which she was tortured for her Christian faith, according to legend. Saint Bartholomew holds a knife, the symbol of his martyrdom: he was flayed alive.The panel probably formed the right-hand side of a triptyc...
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...
People are hard at work on boats beside the small island of San Pietro in Castello, the eastern part of Venice. While the nearby district of San Marco was popular with tourists, as it is today, this quieter corner of the city was largely a working-class neighbourhood. Its residents sailed between...
Christ is shown standing on the ledge of an oval structure, perhaps a well. He holds a crystal orb topped with jewels in his left hand and an olive branch in his right; he looks like a king or a Roman emperor. His very fine tunic clings to his body and we can see his little pot belly beneath it.C...
A peasant boy leans on a chipped stone block or sill and looks towards something – or someone – that makes him smile. This painting once had a companion picture, A Girl Raising her Veil (private collection), in which a pretty girl exchanges a flirtatious smile with the boy shown here.This is the...
This painting by an unknown artist is based on Michelangelo’s drawing The Dream (Courtauld Institute, London). Michelangelo’s presentation drawings were made as gifts for his friends and were always intended as self-sufficient works of art. The Dream is probably one of an important group of such...
Not on display
This is a copy after Pierre Subleyras’s Charon ferrying the Souls of the Dead over the River Styx (Louvre, Paris), which was probably painted around 1735. The date of this copy is unknown, but it must have been made before the early nineteenth century, when the canvas was lined, and probably date...
Not on display
A bearded man in a hair robe is being violently threatened by a horde of demonic creatures. He has cast aside his book and is gazing up at the heavens for help, where Christ has appeared reclining on a cloud.This very small picture is one of a number of works on copper that Annibale Carracci pain...
Not on display
This is a very early work by Bernardo Bellotto, the talented nephew of the influential Venetian artist Canaletto. It was painted in around 1738, when he was only about 16 years old and working in his uncle’s studio in Venice. By this time Bellotto was creating his own versions of some of Canalett...
Something – or someone – has interrupted the Virgin Mary’s reading. This panel was probably part of a large image which included the angel Gabriel, the cause of her surprise. Gabriel brought her the news that she would conceive a child by the Holy Ghost, and that he would be the son of God (Luke...
A young woman sits on a stone bench in a garden. She leans on a plinth as if trying to be at ease but her bodice, stiffened with whalebone, forbids her to relax. She sits upright, her eyes alert as if expecting someone. Who she might be expecting remains a mystery, since we don't know her identit...
Not on display
Christ hangs from a T-shaped cross. Sorrowing angels circle above him in a stormy sky, while the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist stand on either side, wringing their hands. The skull – seen from beneath and minus its jaw bone – is probably that of Adam, the first man, but it’s also a r...
Not on display
Immediately identifiable by his long hair, beard and gesture of blessing, this kind of small close-up ‘portrait’ of Christ was hugely popular as an object of private devotion in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Such portraits were produced in a number of painters' workshops both north and s...
Not on display
This tall, narrow panel once hung over the tomb of a Franciscan holy man, the Blessed Gabriele Ferretti (d. 1456). Gabriele was Superior of the small convent of San Francesco in Alto outside Ancona in the Italian Marche. He was famous locally for his fervent piety and for his visions of the Virgi...
Not on display
You've viewed 30 of 2,620 paintings