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30 of 2,646 paintings
Solomon was an Old Testament King of Israel known for his great wisdom. The Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem from South Arabia to test Solomon’s wisdom for herself (1 Kings 10: 1–13). She was accompanied by a great retinue bearing spices, gold and precious stones.She kneels in reverence before K...
Not on display
This panel comes from the altarpiece Ugolino made for the church of Santa Croce in Florence – it was in the predella (’step', the lowest part of an altarpiece). Three other panels from this predella are in the National Gallery’s collection.The dead Christ is being removed from the Cross. One man...
A small group of people meet to make music and enjoy each other’s company. We look over the back of a chair to see a young woman playing the violin. A second man smiles at the young woman sitting at her ease on the right. Pieter de Hooch has picked out her jewels, but without ostentation: a pearl...
While carrying his cross, Christ stumbles and falls. One of Christ’s executioners raises a fist to strike him and another pulls him by a rope around his waist. In the distance is Calvary, the barren hill with two crosses where Christ will be crucified. The Virgin follows her son and wipes her tea...
The Virgin Mary sits on her mother’s lap, her attention focused on the wriggling Christ Child. Her mother, Saint Anne, looks intently at her through deep-set eyes and points upwards to the heavens, indicating the child’s divinity. Christ’s cousin, Saint John the Baptist, leans against Anne’s lap...
Not on display
Pieter Codde was an Amsterdam painter who specialised in genre scenes of everyday life. And this is just how A Woman Holding a Mirror of 1625, his earliest known work, can be seen. An attractive and well-dressed woman has tried on various outfits – a discarded dress lies on the table – and is now...
Not on display
The scenes on this panel describe the conception of the Virgin Mary by her mother Anne. In the upper scene Anne’s husband Joachim attempts to make an offering of a lamb at the temple but is turned away before he reaches the altar by two bearded priests. According to the Golden Legend, a thirteent...
Not on display
The sky is moody but the scene is one of pastoral tranquillity. A golden light picks out the flanks of the animals which rest peacefully in the foreground and the figure of the woman who chats to the shepherd. This was a fashionable atmospheric effect, characteristic of Italianate landscape paint...
Not on display
Saint George taming then slaying a dragon is one of the most fantastic saints‘ legends of the Middle Ages. Uccello has compressed two parts of the story into one small and strange picture. The saint plunges his spear into the head of a dragon, whose odd shape mirrors the entrance to his cave. An...
Not on display
We are in the middle of a card game. One figure stares directly at us, a look of apparently benign amusement on his face as he holds his hand close to his chest. By contrast his opponent is focused intently – perhaps even short-sightedly – on her hand, deliberating on how to play next. Judging fr...
Not on display
This is one of a series of four paintings by Veronese that concern the trials and rewards of love, although their precise meanings remain unclear. The compositions are designed to be seen from below, so we know the pictures were intended for a series of ceilings.Cupid drags a man in military cost...
A bull stands silhouetted against a threatening sky. It seems energised and alert, aware of the presence of the viewer – it makes direct eye contact with us – and of the storm. A strong wind bends the willow trees and a sheet of rain sweeps across the middle distance. Two cows and a pair of sheep...
Not on display
Saint Mary Magdalene stands behind a stone ledge and holds her attribute – the pot of oil with which she anointed Christ’s feet. Behind her, a window opens onto a landscape; the cliffs and buildings on the left are a fairly accurate view of La Sainte-Baume, east of Marseille, where, according to...
Not on display
Sienese painting of the second half of the fifteenth century blended the artistic ideals of its own time with a continued reverence for the language of earlier Sienese art. Nowhere is this more true than in this altarpiece, painted in 1479 by Benvenuto di Giovanni, possibly for a church in Orvie...
Not on display
Born into a family of physicians in Picerno, then in the Kingdom of Naples, Joseph-Nicolas-Blaise Forlenze (1751–1833) was a pioneering ophthalmologist and surgeon based in Paris, where this near life-size portrait of him was exhibited at the Salon of 1808.Fashionably dressed in a long-tailed bla...
Images showing the Adoration of the Kings were particularly important in Florence, where the citizens celebrated Epiphany – the feast which commemorated the event – with costumed parades. The shape and scale of this picture suggest that it was made as part of a piece of furniture.The vast entoura...
Not on display
This portrait is unusual among Moroni’s works in that the sitter doesn‘t look out at us but gazes to the right, apparently lost in thought. He is identified by the letter he holds (a common device in Moroni’s portraits and others of the time), addressed to him as: ’The most reverend gentleman, Lu...
This painting sets out to tease us: we are clearly invited to wonder about the nature of the relationship between the two figures. They sit close and seem deeply comfortable in each other’s presence; there is a hint of embarrassment in the young woman’s reaction to our gaze. She looks up slightly...
Not on display
This lively portrait was once wrongly attributed to Jacques-Louis David, but it may be by his assistant Georges Rouget or by one of David’s followers, Baron Gros. The boy’s clothing dates the portrait to around the first 15 years of the nineteenth century. However, his hairstyle allows us to date...
This profusion of luscious fruit and flowers, just past their best, may be a celebration of nature, though it’s anything but natural. The pineapple balanced precariously on top of a tower of flowers is enough to place it in the realms of fantasy. The whole picture looks as if it has been blown to...
Not on display
This painting demonstrates Frans Hals’s gift for creating lively and animated portraits that suggest distinctive personalities. We don't know who the woman in this compelling work is, but her elegant dress and jewellery indicate that, like many of Hals’s patrons, she may have been the wife of a w...
Not on display
A nymph – a mythological spirit of nature imagined as a young woman – lies on a patch of grass in the foreground, blood streaming from wounds on her throat and hand. A satyr, half man and half goat, kneels next to her, mourning her death. A dog sits at her feet, balancing the stooping figure of t...
This is almost certainly a portrait of Susanna Lunden (1599–1643), daughter of the Antwerp merchant Daniel Fourment, an old friend and client of Rubens. The portrait was probably made soon after her marriage to Arnold Lunden.It’s a highly distinctive painting – the sitter’s dark, oversized eyes a...
This wooded hillside, called the Côte des Bœufs, was close to Pissarro’s home in the hamlet of L’Hermitage, near the market town of Pontoise, where he lived for most of the time between 1866 and 1883.Although Pissarro was a leading Impressionist, this painting signals his move away from the fleet...
This is one of a pair of portraits of a husband and wife, one of the richest couples in the Netherlands. Jacob Trip, who made much of his money as an arms dealer, had been married to Margaretha de Geer for nearly 60 years. The paintings, both in the National Gallery, were made to hang together, a...
The pond which takes up the foreground probably lies in the grounds of the tall building glimpsed at the extreme right, perhaps a mill or château. Beyond an open gate lies an unseen road or lane bordered by a hedge, and further in the distance stands a higher bank of trees. At the left, the woman...
On display elsewhere
In 1788, one of George Augustus Wallis’s many patrons, Lord Warwick, financed a trip to Italy. Around that year he arrived in Naples, where he stayed for a number of years, before moving to Rome in 1795. He was nicknamed ‘le Poussin anglais’ by his fellow English artists, and his future son-in-la...
A woman seated in a landscape is startled by the sudden appearance of an angel, who points to heaven while gesturing towards a sleeping boy in the distance. This is the angel appearing to Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant to Sara, wife of Abraham, as told in the Old Testament. Hagar bore Abraham a...
A sandy path meanders through a landscape of dunes towards distant hills and mountains. An old man in blue with his back towards us occupies the foreground, a sack and water bottle lying beside him on the ground. He seems to be watching a younger man who bends to scoop water from a pool with a po...
This panel comes from an altarpiece made for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn in the west of Germany, and was probably originally placed to the left of the main scene showing the Crucifixion. It shows the Archangel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she will...
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