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30 of 2,654 paintings
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
Far from the soft, rolling sand dunes at many seaside places, those in Wouwerman’s painting are craggy with rocks here and there. The stark outline of the broken fence against the sky seems forbidding, and the house up on the left bank, gable end facing us, seems to shut us out.Individual parts o...
Not on display
The meaning of this scene is difficult to decipher, largely because the painting is very damaged and many areas are not original. The two foreground figures are genuine and may represent Saint Roch and Gothardus, who tended the plague sore on Saint Roch’s thigh. If this is the case, the picture m...
The identity of this brown-eyed woman who sits for what may be an engagement or marriage portrait remains a mystery. She is probably aristocratic and is clearly wealthy – the many pearls strung around her neck and over her shoulders, and the two large tear-drop pearls of her earrings, are showily...
Not on display
The Virgin Mary kneels, her hands clasped in prayer. Her downward gaze meets that of her infant son, Christ, who is lying on the edge of her blue cloak, leaning against a bundle of straw. Saint John the Baptist, Christ’s cousin, looks down at him from behind. The scroll he holds bears a Latin ins...
This panel, which shows Christ’s body being taken down from the Cross, is the right wing of a triptych (a painting in three parts) made for a convent near Delft in around 1510. The other panels, which are also in the National Gallery’s collection, show Christ being led out after his trial and the...
Not on display
We seem to be sitting in a box at the theatre with two young women, though we can’t be sure what is going on. We can’t see the stage and one of the women is looking away from us, the back of her bonnet hiding most of the other’s face. This sense of mystery is enhanced by the nearer woman’s pose,...
Not on display
Many of Aert van der Neer’s atmospheric landscapes are set in the low light of evening or early morning, characterised by a silvery glow on water and the deep shade of the wooded banks. He also painted night scenes, lit by a moon often partly hidden by the clouds of a dramatic sky. It’s not clear...
Not on display
The central figure in this work is George Gage, a notable art dealer and political agent in the 1620s, acting for King James I and then Charles I. Both he and Van Dyck were in Rome in 1622 and 1623, and it is highly likely that the painting was made then.Van Dyck has depicted Gage as an elegant f...
A thin-faced man with a hooked nose gazes directly out at us. He wears a black hat and his dark grey garments are perhaps made of watered silk: an irregular swirling black pattern extends across both chest and the puffed shoulders. There are no indications of the sitter’s identity.Corneille de Ly...
The grim story of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, the prophet who preached the coming of Christ as the Messiah, is recounted in the Gospel of Mark. John had criticised King Herod for marrying Herodias, the wife of his own half-brother. In revenge, Herodias persuaded her daughter Salome t...
For those living in Utrecht in the 1630s, this painting must have seemed like a window onto an exotic world. A crowd of naked women pose elegantly while they talk and bathe in a river. Behind them loom the overgrown tower and arches of a Roman ruin, while the bright morning sky glows behind the f...
Not on display
An elderly, bearded saint, wearing a bishop’s mitre and holding a book and a crosier, gazes directly, almost challengingly, out at us. We are not sure exactly who he is. He has traditionally been identified as Saint Ambrose, the fourth-century patron of Milan, but he lacks the saint’s traditional...
Not on display
This is Lawrence’s own copy of a portrait he painted of John Julius Angerstein (1735–1823) aged 84. The original was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1816, and Lawrence considered it one of his best works. Angerstein was Lawrence’s friend and patron for over 30 years. Lawrence first painted him...
Not on display
David Teniers the Younger made his fortune painting bawdy scenes like this one. They were popular with wealthy collectors who were proud of their own good manners compared with those ascribed to peasants (they also found the pictures amusing).The unfortunate young woman on her knees has lost a sh...
Not on display
In the seventeenth century, the linen bleaching fields of Haarlem were considered to be the best in Europe. Linen was an important fabric and to fetch the highest prices its natural beige colour needed to be bleached white. The flat fields and ready water supply in the rivers and canals around Ha...
Not on display
The infant Christ places a ring on Saint Catherine’s finger in her vision of a ‘mystic marriage’. Parmigianino has positioned the gold ring with a blue stone at the very centre of the painting. Beside Saint Catherine is the spiked wheel upon which she was tortured for her Christian faith.The iden...
Pietro Longhi has combined an image of gallantry with a glimpse of domestic life – two maids at the left work at an embroidery frame. The elegantly dressed lady of the house welcomes a dashing gentleman, who places his hand on his heart as he bows from the waist. She leans towards him and lightly...
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...
A bearded saint stands in a stone niche. He holds a book and a pen: he is one of the Four Evangelists, the authors of the Gospels – possibly Saint Mark. Although a saint, he has no halo or attribute; he looks more like a Roman philosopher. The quiet stone, the saint’s abstracted and unfocused gaz...
Not on display
Two strikingly ugly men in extraordinary clothing are seated at a table in a panelled interior. One writes in a ledger, the other – his features contorted into a sneer – grasps at a pile of coins. Documents, some of them legible, are piled on a cupboard behind the pair.Marinus van Reymerswale and...
A man wearing the cap and gown of a scholar sits at a desk in a dark and cavernous room, a glazed expression on his face. He clasps a pair of reading glasses, implying that he was until a moment ago studying the book propped up in front of him. A large diagram of the palm of a hand is visible on...
Not on display
A crowd watches as state dignitaries and foreign ambassadors emerge from the church of San Rocco on the right of this painting. They have just attended a mass in honour of Saint Roch as part of the saint’s feast day, which was held in Venice every year on 16 August to celebrate his role in bringi...
This bearded cardinal once stood at the left side of a small altarpiece that Crivelli painted for a side chapel in the church of San Domenico, in Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. This is Saint Jerome, one of the Fathers of the Church and a favourite saint of the Dominican Order as a defender...
Not on display
On the Greek island of Patmos, Saint John the Evangelist had a vision of the Woman of the Apocalypse, which he recorded in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Here he sits with an oversized book in his lap, his quill pen poised, and looks towards the tiny illuminated female figure hovering in t...
This panel comes from the Benedictine abbey at Liesborn in Westphalia. The scene may have been inspired by the central panel of the altarpiece made by the same artist for the abbey’s high altar, fragments of which are also in the National Gallery’s collection.Its horizontal shape suggests that it...
Not on display
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