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30 of 2,654 paintings
In this picture, Willem van de Velde the Younger displays his skills as an exceptionally gifted painter of ships. Each vessel here is accurately depicted. An English ketch in the foreground flies the flag of Saint George, and a weyschuit (a small open boat) moves almost alongside it. To the left,...
Not on display
From the grassy outcrop in the left foreground there is a vertiginous drop into the valley, which in its sweep towards the menacing line of mountains in the distance fades from green to blue. The valley is criss-crossed with dark green tree lines, the trees conjured up out of small swirls of the...
Christ kneels on a grassy hillock, hands folded in prayer, and looks up at a floating angel who carries a chalice. At the front, three of the apostles slumber, heads resting on their arms or hands. Soldiers wearing fantastic Renaissance versions of classical armour approach from the sides, led by...
Not on display
A boy sits in a dark room, but a glimmer of light through the window reveals his face and the dead mouse he holds in one hand. The other hand covers the mousetrap. This is not a portrait but an imaginary situation, intended as an entertainment and, possibly, a moral lesson.The boy lifts his chin...
A young woman, wearing a crimson robe and pearl necklace from which a gold cross is suspended, stands in an imaginary architectural setting. An opening into what appears to be a brightly lit courtyard reveals a precarious, twisting flight of stairs. A man in a dark costume stands at the top, appa...
The Virgin Mary, the Christ Child in her lap, is seated on a marble throne that is topped with an elaborately carved canopy. Below, an angel offers a rose to Christ, but he is distracted by the pear held out by a second angel. Smaller canopies cover the niches on either side, which house the Arch...
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
Lit by a shaft of sunlight against dark shadows behind, the group of figures playing cards form a colourful distraction in a rather grey environment. We are witnessing a moment of triumph: the man in the red coat has just produced an ace while his opponent, in the blue jerkin, has the expression...
Not on display
William Seguier (1772–1843) was a picture dealer and picture cleaner. He was Superintendent of the British Institution from its foundation in 1805, Surveyor, Cleaner and Repairer of the King’s Pictures from 1820 and Keeper of the National Gallery from its foundation in 1824. He continued in all t...
Not on display
We don't know who the young woman in this small portrait was, but her jewellery and clothes, which are in the fashion of around 1560, are not enormously rich: she was probably not a lady of the court.A rather similar but even smaller portrait of a similarly dressed lady is in the collection of th...
Not on display
Two peasants converse on a track that runs past two cottages. Behind them a chestnut horse pulls a wagon laden with hay, which suggests that this scene is set at the end of summer, when the meadows are cut and the hay brought in to feed the livestock over the coming winter.The cottage in the righ...
This view is from the bank of the River Thames, looking across a sprawling meadow towards Eton College on the horizon. A shady glade gives way to a softly lit landscape, with folk enjoying the summer’s day – a family group are picnicking while other people fish and boat nearby. A finely painted t...
Not on display
The cold is almost tangible in Jan van Goyen’s evocation of life on the ice in a seventeenth-century Dutch winter. The horizon is low and the sky vast, so we are on a level with the people portrayed. A bank of grey cloud hovers overhead, just moving enough to let in the pale sun and allow a glimm...
Not on display
This painting depicts a memorial to the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, built by Sir George Beaumont in the grounds of his home at Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire, in 1812. Beaumont planned to redesign his gardens to include other memorials dedicated to his friends and the people he admired. The poet...
Not on display
Willem van de Velde, usually so interested in the detailed depiction of individual vessels, seems to be more concerned in this painting with atmosphere and the emotion evoked by a view of the sea in the evening light. The warm glow of a low sun casts the vessels close to us into shadow, leaving t...
Not on display
Christ is shown as a prisoner, a rope around his neck. He wears a crown of thorns and a purple robe, props made by his Roman captors to mock him: one of the charges against him was that he was claiming to be the ‘King of the Jews’. Dressed like this, he was brought before the citizens of Jerusale...
Saint Peter fled Rome after Christ’s crucifixion, scared that he too would be executed by the Romans; here, he stands in shock as Christ passes him on the road. When Peter asked Christ where he was going – the question in this painting’s title – he replied that he was headed to Rome to be crucifi...
In 1681, Marco Gallo was made a cardinal by Pope Innocent X, having served as Bishop of Rimini, a city in northwestern Italy from 1659. In this portrait he wears a vivid red cardinal’s biretta on his head and a silk mozzetta (short cape), its beautiful iridescence and volume created by carefully...
In this exuberant picture, Rubens seems to suggest that apotheosis – a person being elevated to divine status – is not a wholly majestic and dignified affair, as it is presented in many other contemporary paintings. Here, it seems that any great man taken to heaven and granted immortality by the...
A bearded man wearing a yellow tunic trims vines that have been trained to grow up two trees. The branches of the vine are bare, while the trees have a few brownish leaves. Pruning vines is an activity carried out in Italy in winter when the plant is dormant, and in spring when the new leaves hav...
Not on display
This semicircular painting forms the upper part of the altarpiece painted for the Buonvisi family chapel in the church of S. Frediano in Lucca.The Virgin Mary grieves over the body of her son Christ, laid across her lap, her eyelids red and puffy from weeping. An angel holds Christ’s head; anothe...
Not on display
Saint George plunges his lance into the jaws of the dragon which, according to legend, inhabited the lake outside the city of Lydda in the Holy Land. He has arrived just in time to save the princess, who had been presented as a sacrifice to the creature. The dead body of one of the dragon’s earli...
A large tent or booth has been set up on top of a hill above a military camp, next to a blasted tree. They stand upright against a big, luminous sky, together filling nearly half the picture.Dramatic though this backdrop is, it’s the cavalrymen gathered in the foreground whose antics are the main...
A dog sniffs at a heap of dead birds on the floor, but the focus of this quiet scene seems to be on the young woman cradling her baby. She looks down at the creatures, her expression shuttered. The picture was originally quite different: beneath the birds, which were added during the nineteenth c...
Not on display
This must be one of the most striking studies in ugliness in Western painting. An elderly woman with a very short nose and an exceedingly long upper lip rests one hand on a marble parapet. Her skin is pimply and wrinkled, and she seems to have lost her teeth. In spite of her hideous appearance, s...
This painting is a copy of Jacob van Ruisdael’s original, which is in a private collection in Canada. Made by an unknown follower, it shares the original’s sense of space and airiness, with a wide view past the dense trees and bushes on the left.Crossing the barrier of dead tree trunks across the...
Not on display
Between 1634 and 1637, Saenredam made a series of views of the interior of the Grote Kerk (or the Cathedral of St Bavo) in Haarlem, the city where he lived and worked – this is one of them.Even though it is a small picture, it required an enormous amount of work. Saenredam made sketches on site,...
You've viewed 30 of 2,654 paintings