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30 of 2,644 paintings
King David and his companions emerge from the cave of Adullam. They cannot enter the city of Bethlehem and the valley below as the Philistines, whose pitched tents are just visible in the bottom left corner, occupy both. Nevertheless, three of the King’s soldiers have bravely ventured out to fulf...
In 1871 Monet moved with his family to Argenteuil, a suburb north-west of Paris. During his six-year stay there he painted around 200 pictures of the town and its surroundings. This picture is one of 18 Argenteuil canvases that record the snowy winter of 1874/5. The figures trudging along the roa...
Teniers’s imaginary landscape shows peasants at their leisure. The sheep on the far side of the river enjoy the best of the fitful sunshine, but with a few strokes of the brush Teniers created a shower of rain over the substantial village and the church in the distance.The men in the foreground p...
Not on display
This view is taken from the west bank of the Tiber looking towards the Castel Sant’Angelo. The specific event depicted has not been identified but river jousts were a popular official form of entertainment, and attracted large crowds of spectators.The flag at the stern of the boat at the left bea...
Not on display
This painting is an early copy of one of the most celebrated of Correggio’s small religious paintings. For a long time it was regarded as Correggio’s genuine version, even after the arrival in London of the original from the Spanish Royal Collection (now in Apsley House, London). The Apsley House...
Not on display
A bunch of flowers in a ceramic vase is displayed on a table. The tablecloth is decorated with flowers and blue stripes that help create a sense of recession into depth.Like most of Monticelli’s works, this picture is painted on a wood panel, much of which is left visible. Thick paint and blobs...
Not on display
The Abbé Scaglia (1592–1641), whose full name was Cesare Alessandro Scaglia di Verrua, was a cleric and diplomat well known in Rome, Madrid, London and Paris for his service to the House of Savoy and Philip IV of Spain. Scaglia was also an art collector of renown who knew, among others, Rubens, V...
Two saints – Peter and Jerome – stand on an extravagantly carved stone pedestal. They once formed the left wing of a triptych (an altarpiece in three parts) painted by Antonio Vivarini and his brother-in-law, Giovanni d‘Alemagna, probably in the mid-1440s.The saints’ names have been painted as if...
Not on display
Cadmus, a prince of Tyre, travelled to the Delphic Oracle after his sister was stolen away by Zeus, chief of the Greek gods. There he was told that, instead of searching for his sister, he should ‘follow the cow outside and wherever it rests, build a new city’.When the cow stopped Cadmus’s follow...
Not on display
This is a copy of a signed work by Salvator Rosa of about 1645 (now in the Pitti Palace, Florence). It depicts an episode from the life of Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher who wanted to be free of all earthly attachments. Upon seeing a boy using his hands to drink from a stream, Diogenes t...
Not on display
This is one of three mythological scenes to decorate a cassone, or chest, illustrating the story of Callisto as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Jupiter seducing Callisto, also in the National Gallery, decorated the other end.Arcas, son of Jupiter and Callisto, draws back his bow. A bear emerges fro...
Not on display
The shadowy dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is viewed from the south bank of the Thames. Just to the front of the cathedral the newly built Blackfriars Bridge straddles the river; behind it a train, invisible but for its plume of smoke, passes over Blackfriars Railway Bridge. The leaden sky is heavil...
Not on display
This elegant young man’s identity is revealed on the strip of paper or parchment curled around the pole. The inscription is now difficult to read, but appears to say: Lodovico Martinengo at the age of _ years. Painted by Bartolomeo Veneto 16 June 1530.When the picture was first acquired by the Na...
Not on display
This panel of the Archangel Michael fighting the Devil was once part of an altarpiece painted by Crivelli for the church of San Domenico in Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. Michael is shown as a youthful prince, his sword raised with nonchalant ease to strike the writhing devil beneath his fe...
In this painting, Saint Ambrose (about 340–398), Bishop of Milan, stops the Emperor Theodosius (about 346–395) and his retinue from entering the city’s cathedral. This was a punishment for Theodosius‘ massacre of the people of Thessalonica, who had murdered his general, Butheric.This story was re...
This is a copy by an anonymous artist of Salvator Rosa’s original work, which is now in the Hospital de Tavera in Toledo, Spain. The picture’s subject is taken from the Old Testament Book of Genesis, which tells how the young Ishmael and his mother Hagar were banished into the desert of Beersheba...
Not on display
In this tiny picture, Arent Arentsz. shows a fisherman in heavy boots, his rod – a canvas bag hanging from it – over his shoulder. He looks back at a young lad pouring a catch of tiny fish from a large pitcher into a bowl, while an older man stands waiting with a similar bowl in his hands.Arentsz...
Not on display
Although we don't know the identity of this woman, her clothing and the objects around her suggest that she was painted in around 1500 and most probably came from Cologne. The portrait was almost certainly part of a diptych (a painting made of two panels), which could have been hinged at the cent...
Located just outside Copenhagen, the Citadel (Kastellet) was a former military fort where Christen Købke and his parents lived from 1819 to 1833, although Købke often returned there to paint. He painted this view in 1837, possibly for his mother as a souvenir of their former home.This picture sho...
The Christ Child stands on the Virgin Mary’s lap, making a gesture of blessing. She is seated under a red canopy, between John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, who looks up towards heaven.Mary Magdalene raises up a small pot, a reminder of the spices she used to anoint Christ’s body after his deat...
The infant Christ is seated on the Virgin’s lap, accompanied by saints in the meadows of a mountainous landscape. The large semi-ruined classical building behind the Virgin and Christ divides the composition into three, making them appear enthroned in the centre.Saint James sits reading on the ne...
Not on display
This is a nineteenth-century copy of a much larger painting made by Murillo for Seville Cathedral in 1660 (Louvre, Paris). During the French occupation of Seville, Murillo’s painting was moved to Paris, where this copy was probably produced around 1810.In his painting, Murillo explored the theme...
Not on display
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
Although damaged, we can tell that this is an original work by Anthonis Mor. His sitters are usually lit from above and the left; their noses are narrow but have deep shadows and the eyes are too widely spaced. We don't know the identity of the sitter, but the cut of his hair, and the long beard...
Not on display
The lady in Bartholomeus van der Helst’s portrait may be unknown now, but she appears to have been a woman of some status. Standing out against a severe, plain black background, her clothes announce her wealth and status – and little else. Although she appears modest and unassuming her gaze is di...
Not on display
This is one of Aert van der Neer’s largest paintings. A river takes centre stage, stretching into the middle distance beyond and reflecting back the slanting light of an evening sky and the darker shadows of the boats and trees.These effects and this mood are typical of van der Neer’s work, but u...
Not on display
A man with blue eyes and a brown beard – slightly reddish below his mouth – looks out at us from this small picture. We don't know who he is but his black hat, known as a biretta, and his clothing indicate that he is a priest or a lawyer. He may well have been an important person: Corneille de Ly...
Three dashing young boys stand on the steps of an impressive building. They are known as the Balbi children because the painting was once in the collection of the wealthy ​Balbi family ​in Genoa, but we don‘t know who they are. Some have suggested they were members of the Franchi family because t...
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
This small painting is an incomplete copy of a panel titled The Perfect Accord (L’Accord parfait), which Watteau probably painted between 1717 and 1719, and is now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This pastoral scene of a couple strolling in the countryside as other peop...
Not on display
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