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30 of 2,663 paintings
The figure in this painting is copied from one of the elders in the foreground of Guercino’s Susannah and the Elders (Museo del Prado, Madrid), which illustrates a story in the Old Testament Apocrypha. While she is bathing, Susannah is spied upon by two old men who threaten to accuse her of adult...
Not on display
The game of golf was played in the Middle Ages, but it became particularly popular in seventeenth-century Holland. It was called kolf, and was played on the ice. European winters in the mid-seventeenth century were severe. Rivers and canals froze so solid that the life normally lived in a village...
Saint John the Baptist stands in a rocky landscape, a reference to the wilderness in which he lived as a young man, dressed in a camel-hair tunic and eating only locusts and honey.He embraces a lamb, a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, and points towards heaven. According to the Gospel, when Saint Jo...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary has collapsed with grief after learning that Christ, her son, has accepted his inevitable death as the will of God and is making to leave for Jerusalem. The episode is not recorded in the Bible, but it appears in a fourteenth-century German devotional text as well as in Passion pl...
Not on display
The unusual horn-shaped cap and sumptuous silk robes identify this man as a doge, the elected ruler of Venice. We can‘t be sure who he is, but he has been identified in the past as Doge Niccolò Marcello, who was in power briefly from 1473 to 1474. A medal (Bode Museum, Berlin) inscribed with Marc...
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 Virgin and Child sit on the edge of a wood between two sawn stumps of olive trees that resemble the arms of a throne. Shoots have grown from each stump and the Virgin bends the taller one towards Christ, who raises his hand as if to grasp it. The olive is symbolic of peace and its vigorous re...
Not on display
Two bearded old men sit at a small table playing cards. What little light there is focuses on the white cap of one and the grey hair of the other, as well as their white collars, and reveals them to be better dressed than some other patrons of the inn. In the dingy back room, a young woman sits b...
Not on display
This is the left-hand shutter of a three-part folding altarpiece commissioned by the English merchant, Paul Withypool. The other shutter, which is also in the National Gallery’s collection, shows Saint Ursula.Saint Catherine holds a fresh green palm, the symbol of martyrs – those killed for their...
Not on display
Barent Fabritius’s bleak, shadowy stable is coldly lit. The rays radiating from the Christ Child in the manger light up the people close to him, but even they bring little comfort. Only the deep, dusty pink of Mary’s gown and the shepherd’s extraordinary red hat bring a touch of warmth to the sce...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary, regal and refined, is seated on an inlaid stone throne with the Christ Child on her knee. Two musical angels with multi-coloured wings balance on the back of the throne, and there is a Latin inscription on the front of the marble parapet beneath it: REGINA CELI LETTARE ALLELVIA (...
Not on display
The scarlet coat of the horseman catches our attention and we instinctively follow the direction of his whip, which he points away into the distance. And the concept of distance – just as much as the animals and figures in the foreground – is at the heart of this painting. Aelbert Cuyp has constr...
Not on display
Catharina van Hemessen is the earliest female Flemish painter for whom verifiable work survives – we can see her name here in a Latin inscription in the top right corner. We don't know who the sitter was, but she was evidently wealthy. Her shirt, visible at her neck and wrists, is ornamented with...
Aert van der Neer was an expert at creating a sense of depth in his landscapes. Often, as here, he used the sinuous path of a river or inlet receding into the distance to emphasise the effect. In this picture he has gone a step further, using figures to reinforce that recession and to inject a se...
Not on display
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...
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
This is one of the most well-known views of classical Rome. We are looking across the Forum towards the Palazzo Senatorio on the Capitol. Although the Forum had yet to be fully excavated, the three surviving columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux can be seen here on the left. The remains of t...
Not on display
A young woman sits side-on to us. She wears a relaxed but delicate and costly gown, her hair casually caught back in a soft chignon. She looks down, apparently calmly, at a gleaming ceramic statuette of a snarling tiger, poised to pounce. Its expression and stylised pose are reminiscent of mytho...
On display elsewhere
In this lively, informal portrait, Anthony van Dyck presents to us someone he had known for several years and whose company he clearly enjoyed. François Langlois was an engraver, art dealer and publisher who lived in Italy in the 1620s, which is where he must have met Van Dyck. Langlois was also...
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...
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...
Two saints stand on a fantastically cusped stone plinth in front of a rose hedge. They are Francis and Mark, identified by their attributes – the symbols with which they are traditionally associated – and by the inscriptions in the front of the plinth. Mark, one of the four authors of the Gospels...
Not on display
Torrential rain in autumn 1896 caused extensive flooding near Monet’s home in Giverny. The river Epte, a tributary of the Seine, burst its banks and overflowed into the meadow next to Monet’s garden.Obliged to remain close to home, Monet painted the view of the waterlogged landscape that he saw i...
Christ raises his hand in blessing as Salvator Mundi, or ‘Saviour of the World’. Such pictures were particularly popular in north-east Italy in the second half of the fifteenth and the early sixteenth century and were usually made for the home. The popularity of this type of painting in Venice ma...
Not on display
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
A towering rain cloud seems to threaten an early close to this game of archery. Perhaps the storm will come as a relief – although the archer takes aim with an eager eye, only one of the three arrows already shot has hit the target. The game seems almost incidental, however: Teniers is here telli...
Not on display
It is the animals which take centre stage in this picture. On a grassy riverside knoll, four cows and a magnificent jet black horse are spotlit by the warm afternoon sun. Aelbert Cuyp was a brilliant painter of these beasts, especially cattle. He knew exactly how to convey their languor and ponde...
Not on display
Aurelia Ciommi was a favourite model for Mancini in Rome, posing for some 25 paintings. Her nickname was La Cornacchia (The Crow), expressive of her sharp and animated features. Here, she seems to reveal for our delectation an austere and elegant Renaissance portrait bust of a woman in white marb...
On display elsewhere
Against the setting sun, three hunting dogs rest beside an overflowing basket of dead birds and game. The two on the right are chained up; one sniffs the ground or laps water from an unseen bowl while the other stares, distracted, out of the picture frame. The unchained dog looks quizzically at a...
Not on display
You've viewed 30 of 2,663 paintings