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30 of 2,657 paintings
This intriguing picture is Boilly’s painted imitation of a print after one of his own compositions (possibly now lost). Although Boilly was an expert in trompe l’oeil, it is unlikely that he intended to trick the viewer into thinking they are looking at an actual print because he does not include...
This is one of the first nudes that Renoir painted. He took a traditional artistic approach, depicting the woman in a natural setting, reclining by a stream as though she were a naiad (water nymph) from the world of Greek mythology. She appears to be lying on a grassy, flower-flecked bank beside...
Not on display
Erminio Soldera was born in Cappella Maggiore, near Treviso, and trained with Cesare Tallone (1853 -1919) at the Brera Academy in Rome. He produced frescoes and decorations for churches, but also painted portraits and landscapes, of which this is an early example.Dense greenery dominates the fore...
A woman shown in three-quarter length turns her head slightly, meeting our gaze with a stern expression. She is wearing a black peaked cap, a black dress and flat white collar that extends below her shoulders. Her restrained clothes and the dark background give this portrait a formal and rather...
In 1252 Saint Peter Martyr, a Dominican friar from Verona, was assassinated in an ambush by a group of heretics. This picture was once thought to be a ‘portrait’ of the saint: we can see the hilt of a dagger which has been plunged into his heart, and a cleaver lodged in his head.X-ray imagery sho...
Not on display
This painting is based on the main panel of an altarpiece that Gozzoli made for the Confraternity of the Purification of the Virgin and of Saint Zenobius in Florence, which is also in the National Gallery’s collection. It was probably produced shortly afterwards by a member of the artist’s worksh...
Not on display
Elegant and full of self-confidence, the young Prince Rupert stands every inch a member of the royal Stuart dynasty. Known as Rupert of the Rhine, he bears a striking resemblance to his cousin the Prince of Wales, later Charles II. The portrait is designed to place us at his feet, and yet he look...
This is one of four paintings Seurat produced in 1890 near the town of Gravelines, a small port on the northern French coast between Calais and Dunkirk. Positioned on the sand dunes of Petit-Fort-Philippe, we see the shore in the morning light after the receding tide has left a broad expanse of o...
In this small arched painting, the Virgin Mary is seated on a grey stone bench surrounded by a wooden frame. She wears a red mantle and uses both hands to gently restrain the naked Christ Child as he leaps forward with his arms outstretched.Once thought to be by a follower or even a late copy aft...
Not on display
Moses stands on the left, his hand raised as he beckons people to gaze upon the bronze serpent coiled around the pole held by Eleazar, a priest. The scene is taken from the Old Testament: God had sent a plague of ‘fiery serpents’ to punish the Israelites for their sinfulness and lack of faith (Nu...
Not on display
A bearded saint in rich red and blue robes holds an open book. His halo, now rather worn, was burnished gold incised with decorative patterns; the edges and lining of his cloak, his sleeves and his neckline glimmer with touches of gold. His book with its fluttering pages has a dark green binding...
Not on display
The sun sets roughly in the centre of the picture, behind two tree trunks. The thick yellow paint expands from the sky to the foreground, and Monticelli has applied it using short, directional brushstrokes which allow him better to convey the light. Portions of the wooden panel used as a support...
Not on display
This small oil sketch on paper, mounted on canvas, shows a dense mass of trees in a deep ravine. At the bottom of the picture some pale pink flowering plants suggest that we are at the edge of a cliff looking across a gully that drops steeply below us. Including these flowers and the tall tree on...
Not on display
The tide is ebbing at Egmond-aan-Zee, leaving a pattern of swirls in the still-wet sand. You can sense the outward sweep and undertow of the tide before the little waves tumble back towards the shore.The people lingering on the beach aren't fishermen, like the silhouetted figures near the boats....
Saint George, a Christian knight, saved a city which was being terrorised by a dragon. Here he charges the beast, who crouches on a grisly collection of bloody bones. The princess, who was to be its next meal, makes a hasty escape on the left.Although ostensibly a history painting, it is the land...
Not on display
Venus, goddess of love and beauty, twists to embrace her lover, Mars, god of war, who has thrown off his armour in his haste to reach her bed. Mars is only half on the bed with Venus above him as he meets her lips in the urgency of their desire.A pair of doves, an attribute of Venus, are beside w...
Not on display
Before the 1880s Renoir painted very few nudes. But the artist’s journey to Italy in 1881, where he was absorbed by Roman sculpture and Renaissance painting, rekindled his interest and he began painting them far more often. This small and intimate picture is probably one of a series made during t...
This modello, or detailed oil study, is one of a group of 12 that Giordano made in preparation for the ceiling frescoes in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in 1682–85. Ten of the modelli are in the National Gallery’s collection, and this one corresponds to the group in the centre of the ceiling of the...
Two young men in fashionable clothing look into the distance as they lean against a plinth. This double portrait has traditionally been considered to be by Anthony van Dyck, but this is now doubted. Though it reflects the style of the artist in the 1630s, it could have been painted by a follower...
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
A bearded bishop stands over a child lying in a street, his mother kneeling at his side. This is Saint Zenobius – the fourth-century bishop of Florence and one of the city’s patron saints – bringing a boy back to life.This large altarpiece was painted for Bilivert’s great friend Giuliano Girolami...
Saint Francis stands on a marble ledge against a golden background. He embraces a Crucifix and gazes compassionately at the tiny figure of the crucified Christ. If you look closely you can see bright red blood on Christ’s feet and his white loin cloth, where it has dripped from the wound in his s...
Not on display
This small, portable altarpiece is one of a handful of English panel paintings to have survived from the Middle Ages. Made for Richard II, King of England from 1377 to 1399, in the last five years of his life, it combines religious and secular imagery to embody his personal conception of kingshi...
This appears to depict a moment of bliss: an idyllic landscape, painted in an Italianate style by Jan Both, is suffused with the warm glow of a summer’s evening. In the foreground a group of elegantly poised nudes, added by Both’s collaborator Cornelis van Poelenburgh, catches the sunlight.But th...
Not on display
A merchant ship, probably an Indiaman, comes to anchor. After a long and dangerous journey, perhaps to the Far East or the West Indies, the white sails are being lowered one by one. The flag on the foremast suggests that this is the vessel of the vice admiral of a small fleet. The crew is busy an...
A sandy road leads from the immediate foreground to a cluster of sunlit buildings in the centre background. A further, much hazier group, lies just to the right of the prominent tree. The first group depicts the village of Saintry, south-east of Paris. The square tower with its pointed roof is a...
Not on display
Although this picture has been given the title of Portrait of an Elderly Woman, the unknown artist has given the sitter few signs of age. She is unwrinkled, her small mouth is full and her eyes are clear. Her hair is dark, dressed in a plain but natural style, hanging either side of her face.Like...
Not on display
The leader of a troop of horsemen lowers his hat to salute Philippe-François, 1st Duke of Arenberg and Duke of Arschot and Croy, who doffs his own feathered hat in response. Arenberg was an important figure at the court of Brussels: he served in the army of the Southern Netherlands, where he dist...
Not on display
This is an oil sketch Rubens made in preparation for an altarpiece for St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent; it shows the scene that appeared on the left panel. The two women wearing gold crowns are Saints Gertrude and Begga, the sisters of Saint Bavo (who appears in the central panel). Saint Bavo was a Ro...
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