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30 of 2,627 paintings
We do not know the identity of the elegant young woman portrayed here, but her costume suggests a date of about 1540. She sits before a green curtain and meets our eye with a direct, confident gaze. The green curtain and the woman’s appearance and headdress are very similar to Bronzino’s Portrait...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph kneel with the shepherds in adoration before the sleeping Christ Child. One shepherd carries a set of bagpipes, the other has a simple flask and bag tied at his waist. Their earthy facial features appear to be related to examples from northern European art. The di...
Not on display
It is unusual to see these four images grouped together like this. This arrangement and the evidence of hinges at the panel’s right edge suggest that it was once part of a larger work made up two or more connected panels.Clockwise from top left, we see the coronation of the Virgin (when Christ cr...
A ramshackle and ruined brick lean-to on top of an exposed rocky outcrop represents the stable in which Christ was born, emphasising the poverty and humility of his birth. The Virgin Mary has spread out her cloak to protect her newborn son’s skin from the bare earth, a pose inspired by the miracu...
Not on display
Crivelli painted two altarpieces for the small church of San Domenico, in the town of Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. Their history is complex and intertwined. A large, double-tiered polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) sat on the high altar, while a smaller altarpiece was in a side chape...
Not on display
In a remote landscape, the Virgin, who is dressed in modest robes, holds the infant Christ and offers him milk. The baby turns away from her breast and smiles at us.Images of the Virgin breastfeeding, known as ‘Virgo Lactans’, became popular during the Middle Ages as part of the increasing devoti...
Not on display
This is one of three self portraits Rembrandt made just before his death in 1669. About 80 survive from his 40-year career, far more than any other artist of his time. He painted them for different reasons – to practise different expressions, to experiment with lighting effects, and also to sell...
Shortly after the founding of their city, the ancient Romans were faced with a serious problem: they had no wives, and therefore no children and no future. Their leader Romulus came up with an inventive and unscrupulous solution: they hosted celebratory games and invited their neighbours, the Sab...
Not on display
This scene makes up the central panel of an altarpiece Rubens made for St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent; this painting is a preliminary sketch for the work. Saints Amand and Floribert receive Saint Bavo, a former Roman soldier, on the steps of St Peter’s Church, also in Ghent.A cleric holds the black h...
The Virgin Mary sits under a tree in a simple gown of faded rose, her work basket with its iron shears and ball of grey wool at her side. She is trying a grey jacket she has just made on the Christ Child, which may be the seamless coat that legend claims grew with him and for which the soldiers c...
Two horses run wild across a flat, earthy plain against a cloudy sunset. These are Xanthus and Balius, the immortal horses of the Greek hero Achilles. They were the offspring of Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, who may be personified by the winged head which is about to expel a mouthful of air...
Not on display
Although peaceful and still, this painting seems to hold many sounds: the rustle of leaves in a sudden breeze, the jingle of a harness and the splash of hooves in the water, quiet voices and dogs snuffling at the ground. We catch a glimpse of the patience needed to make such a journey. The women...
Not on display
The story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1–9) is intended to explain the existence of different languages. After the Great Flood, all of humanity spoke the same language. Noah’s great-grandson, Nimrod, decided to build a tower in Babel that would reach heaven. When God saw it, he was angry an...
Not on display
This large altarpiece was painted by Carlo Crivelli in 1491 for a family chapel in the Franciscan church in Matelica, a small town in the Italian Marches. The Ottoni were the local ruling family – you can see their coat of arms placed conspicuously on the bottom edge of the main panel.The locatio...
Not on display
This picture was made for King Charles I of England and given to him by Rubens, who was acting as an envoy of Philip IV of Spain, in 1630. The two countries had been at war for five years and both sides were keen for a peace deal. The painting is an allegory, the figures representing different vi...
Saint Mary Magdalene is here depicted with eyes raised heavenward, a sign of her devotion and penance. The Gospels describe Mary of Magdala as one of Christ’s followers, a witness to his burial and resurrection. Mary Magdalene was later identified with another biblical figure, an unnamed woman un...
Not on display
A crowd clusters around an altar in a church filled with mosaics. On the right, a bearded priest wields a knife; on the left the Virgin Mary holds the Christ Child. Behind her is her husband Saint Joseph, holding a pair of doves. This is the circumcision of Christ, as described in the Gospel of L...
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...
Not on display
This picture is unsigned, but is attributed to Jan van Huchtenburgh – a specialist painter of battle scenes – on the basis of a stylistic comparison with other works signed by him.The way he has created a sense of depth is particularly interesting here. In the immediate foreground we are confront...
Not on display
Lot and his daughters are shown fleeing the sinful city of Sodom, forewarned by God of its destruction (Genesis 19). The family are in a moment of conversation, perhaps contemplating their next move. Conspicuously absent are details typically associated with the subject, such as Sodom burning in...
Age has not been kind to this lyrical evocation of the Roman Campagna (the countryside around the Italian city) and parts of it are now obscured. In the centre, a group of peasants – the picture’s focus – are at the turn of a path. One man pushes his laden mule up the slope towards us. A girl mou...
Not on display
This angel comes from a pala (an altarpiece with a single, unified surface) which was sawn into pieces in the eighteenth century but reassembled by the National Gallery in the 1930s. It was made for a confraternity of priests, and shows the Trinity (God the Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost as a...
Not on display
You've viewed 30 of 2,627 paintings