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30 of 2,643 paintings
A man kneels before the Virgin Mary and infant Christ, and kisses the child’s hand – this is the Adoration of the Kings, taking place in the ruins of a palace. Saint Joseph, his luggage on a stick over his shoulder, pushes his hat back on his forehead.It was once a triptych (a painting made up of...
Not on display
In the summer of 1867, the German artist Adolph Menzel visited Paris for nine weeks. While there, he almost certainly went to Manet’s temporary pavilion, which for a few days was situated near the Universal Exhibition. The pavilion displayed around 50 of Manet’s paintings, including Music in the...
Threatening clouds loom over the distant mountains and dwarf the cluster of buildings and stone bridge in the middle ground. Above the clouds, the sky is dark.There is a sense of movement throughout the scene, from the trees and clouds blown by the wind to the fishermen hauling in a net from the...
Not on display
Elderly Saint Elizabeth looks down over the Virgin Mary’s shoulder at her son Saint John the Baptist. The Christ Child removes a garland of flowers from his head, symbolising innocence or childish pleasure. He grasps the reed cross held by the infant Saint John, who wears his camel-skin cloak and...
This scene comes from the apocryphal Book of Tobit. Old and blind, Tobit had sent his son Tobias on a long journey to collect a debt on his behalf. Here, Tobias drags an enormous fish across the ground. He is watched closely by the Archangel Raphael, who had instructed the boy to catch a fish, th...
Not on display
A bishop saint, a mitre on his head and his crosier leaning casually against his shoulder, stands reading a book. This is Saint Nicholas of Bari, an enormously popular saint who is thought to have lived in the fourth century, and about whom almost nothing certain is known. This is the right-hand...
Not on display
This warm, tranquil port scene is bathed in sunlight: the clock on the building to the left records the time as five o'clock. A coat of arms with three golden fleurs-de-lis (emblem of the French king) above the clock and on the ship’s flags to the right suggests this painting was intended for a F...
Not on display
A drinking glass, a vase, a plate of oysters, some small fish – probably sardines – and a half-peeled lemon lie on a table against a flat dark background. The highly patterned tablecloth is also present in the artist’s Still Life: Fruit and A Vase of Wild Flowers (both in the National Gallery), m...
Not on display
Adriaen van de Velde’s pastoral scenes are, like this one, almost always tranquil and serene. They were designed to be easy to live with, and to give city dwellers a sense of being in touch with the countryside and traditional life. But although the paintings are tranquil there’s a sense of energ...
Not on display
A young man reclines in a rocky landscape, filling a bowl with water spouting from a rock. With his naked torso he looks more like a classical god than a biblical figure, but this is Saint John the Baptist, a forerunner of Christ (whom he baptised). John lived as a hermit in the desert, preaching...
Not on display
A saint clad in shining armour raises his sword to strike a hideous demon beneath his feet. This is the Archangel Michael fighting the devil, as described in the Book of Revelation. His multi-coloured wings meet over his head and curve protectively around the man who kneels at his feet. This is t...
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...
Paintings of life on the frozen waterways of Holland during the Little Ice Age were very popular with collectors at the time. Many artists, usually known for painting rivers or landscapes, produced them, and Adriaen van de Velde was one of the most successful. But in this painting he has concentr...
Despite the title, the boy is not drawing but studying a sketchbook – there’s no sign of drawing implements. In front of him is a cast of the Christ Child from Michelangelo’s statue of the Virgin and Child (Church of Our Lady, Bruges) and another book of sketches, but the drawing we see on the op...
Not on display
Whatever the purpose of this picture, the subject – a shabby man clutching an ale mug and pipe, his eyes cast to the ceiling as if searching in vain for a thought – is meant to be an object of ridicule. It has been suggested that the image might be a vanitas, an allegory of the fleeting nature of...
Not on display
This is a fresco fragment from Correggio’s Coronation of the Virgin, which he painted in the apse of the church of S. Giovanni Evangelista in Parma. The fresco depicted Christ crowning the Virgin Mary in heaven, surrounded by the evangelists, doctors of the church and infant angels. Christ and th...
Not on display
A serene young mother balances a toddler on her lap, tenderly supporting him with one hand and holding an open book in the other. This is no ordinary mother – she sits on an elaborate throne and is serenaded by angelic musicians, and both mother and child have gilded haloes. This is the Virgin Ma...
Not on display
This painting is very similar to but roughly half the size of another landscape by Aelbert Cuyp, also in the National Gallery’s collection: A Distant View of Dordrecht, with a Milkmaid and Four Cows, and Other Figures. We don't know which was painted first but presumably one of Cuyp’s customers s...
Not on display
This panel was most probably the right-hand wing of a diptych (a painting made up of two panels), and was probably made in Cologne in the 1530s. The location of the left-hand panel is unknown, but it most probably showed the dead Christ.The figures huddle together and look in the direction of the...
A group of wealthy Venetians sits in the portico of a country house. Two of them play instruments while a young African page holds their music book. They ignore the beggar who holds out his hand for alms, his sores licked by a dog. The painting is disfigured by ingrained dirt, making it difficult...
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
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...
A wine drinker – a stout fellow with a handsome moustache – represents Autumn in a series of paintings by David Teniers that gives each season a human form. A white sash cradles a comfortable belly, and stretched over it is a wine-coloured jacket. His fat neck disappears into the collar of his ja...
Not on display
A maid pounds garlic in a mortar, and other ingredients lie scattered on the table: fish, eggs, a shrivelled red pepper and an earthenware jug probably containing olive oil. An older woman points towards her, as if giving her instructions or telling her off for working too hard, or she may be dra...
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