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30 of 264 paintings
This small painting shows how Antonello revolutionised Venetian portraiture in the late fifteenth century: the three-quarter pose, dark background and strong lighting are all innovations from Northern Europe which focus attention entirely on the man’s face.Antonello’s skill at painting in oil ena...
The format of this portrait – the three-quarter bust-length view, the inclusion of the hands and the plain background are typical of German portraiture of the sixteenth-century. But the painting is in poor condition and has been overpainted extensively. The identities of the sitter and artist a...
Not on display
Golden hair, rosy lips and pale skin were the ideal of feminine beauty in fifteenth-century Florence. All feature in this lady’s portrait, which was probably made to celebrate her marriage.Around her long neck she wears a strand of orange beads with a pendant set with a large pearl. A cluster of...
Although we do not know his name, we can tell a lot about Baldung Grien’s mature sitter from the details of his costume. The large fur collar of his coat, the jewel on his cap and the two gold chains around his neck show off his wealth. The longer chain bears two badges: the Virgin and Child with...
Not on display
We do not know this woman’s identity, but the enamel and gold coronet she wears suggests she may be of high rank. The pattern embroidered on her white satin sleeves could be her family’s heraldic device or perhaps a personal emblem.The fabric of her dress resembles a watered silk threaded with go...
Not on display
This is an early work by the Venetian painter Marco Basaiti. We do not know who this young man is but we can tell his age, origins and social rank from his costume: he wears the black gown and cap worn by citizens and gentlemen over the age of 25 in Venice.Basaiti has placed him against a vast la...
Not on display
The identity of the man in this bust-length portrait is unknown but it appears to be a true likeness with little attempt at flattery. The top of the man’s head is visible through his thinning hair, and the texture of his skin and beard have been meticulously painted. Although he frowns, the wrink...
Not on display
This is traditionally said to be a portrait of the Englishman John Scott, who bought the estate at Banks Fee, near Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, in 1753. During the early 1770s – around the same time as this work was produced – Scott did travel to Rome, where the famous portraitist Batoni...
This is Richard Milles of Nackington, a Member of Parliament for Canterbury from 1761 to 1780, who sat for this portrait when he was in Rome on his Grand Tour. He points to a map inscribed with ‘Grisons’, the name of a Swiss Canton that he probably visited on his way to Italy.The classical column...
Not on display
This painting dates from the end of the artist's life. It may have been intended as a portrait of Fra Teodoro who, as a Dominican, would have identified himself with the founder of his religious Order. Alternatively, Fra Teodoro may have served as the model for the painter.The date and the inscri...
We don't know who these people are, but they wear the restrained costume of prosperous, Protestant Dutch people in the 1660s. Either woman could be the man’s wife; it has also been suggested that the younger woman is a maid, or the couple’s daughter.There may be some clues. The younger woman hold...
Not on display
Bol’s earliest portraits of the 1640s so closely imitate Rembrandt’s style that they were sometimes mistaken for that master’s work. However, by the early 1650s, Bol had adopted a brighter, more colourful palette, and a more elegant style that Amsterdam’s rising merchant class found particularly...
The man in this portrait was once thought to be Gerolamo Casio, a poet from Bologna. He and Boltraffio knew one another and Casio even mentioned Boltraffio’s skill at painting in his sonnets.This attractive idea is now doubted, but there’s no question that the work is by Boltraffio. One of Leonar...
In late fifteenth-century Venice, a striking style of portraiture – derived from Netherlandish portraiture – was being popularised in the city by the Sicilian artist Antonello da Messina; this is a typical example of it. The dark background, the three-quarter pose and the sharp lighting used here...
Not on display
In the early 1660s, when this portrait was made, this fancy outfit, bedecked with ruffles, ribbons and lace, was the height of sophisticated dressing, inspired by the latest fashions in Paris and employing the most expensive fabrics and tailoring.We don’t know who the sitter is, though it seems a...
Not on display
This serious-looking woman is Hermanna van der Cruis. She was married to Abraham van Suchtelen, who held many posts in national and local government in the Netherlands. The portrait was probably made in the second half of the 1660s, when Hermanna was about 50, a wealthy widow and respected in the...
Not on display
A young woman, wearing a crimson robe and pearl necklace from which a gold cross is suspended, stands in an imaginary architectural setting. An opening into what appears to be a brightly lit courtyard reveals a precarious, twisting flight of stairs. A man in a dark costume stands at the top, appa...
A young woman gazes provocatively at us. A long gold necklace lies on her flushed chest and loops between her breasts. A red carnation, sprig of thyme and frond of white jasmine are tucked into her chemise, which has slipped from her shoulder to reveal her left breast.Carnations were popular in b...
Not on display
This apparently simple portrait of a young man was revolutionary in Italian painting. Until this moment, artists painted people either in profile view, so only half their face was visible, or by turning them three-quarters to face the viewer.Here, Botticelli paints the boy head on, mapping his wh...
A fair-haired man stands in an interior, gazing past us. Through the window behind him we can see a landscape with a church in the distance. The date on the back wall makes this the earliest datable – and in fact the only dated painting – by Bouts, and the earliest dated portrait to include an op...
Not on display
William Boxall (1800–1879) painted this self-portrait when he was around 19 and about to enter the Royal Academy Schools to train as a painter. He gave it to his sister Anne. The head is rather less than three-quarters life-size. The picture may have been made as a preparatory study for the life-...
Not on display
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...
Not on display
This painting and Portrait of a Woman aged about 45, also in the National Gallery, were designed to hang together as portraits of a husband and wife. They are said to have been given by the painter Sir William Boxall RA, director of the National Gallery from 1865 to 1874, to his friend, the archi...
Not on display
This painting and Portrait of a Man aged about 45, also in the National Gallery, were designed to hang together as portraits of a husband and wife. They are said to have been given by the painter Sir William Boxall RA, director of the National Gallery from 1865 to 1874, to his friend, the archite...
Not on display
It has previously been thought that this portrait may represent one of the elder sons of Duke Cosimo de' Medici, Bronzino's principal patron. Scholars have also suggested he may be the sculptor Pierino da Vinci or the painter Francesco Salviati. However, each of these theories is in some way prob...
Piero de‘ Medici (1416–1469) was the son of Cosimo ’Pater Patriae‘ (’father of his country‘), and father of Lorenzo the Magnificent. They were all members of the Medici, the leading family in Florence during the Italian Renaissance. Although Florence was a republic at the time, Piero was in effec...
We do not know who this lady is. Her costume suggests that she is a Florentine noblewoman of the late 1570s and 1580s and it is likely that the portrait dates from that time.The style of the portrait is similar to those of Bronzino (1503–1572), who was court artist to Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–15...
Not on display
This is a portrait of Cosimo I de‘ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, at the age of 40. It is based on Bronzino’s official portrait of the Duke of 1559, but is unlikely to have been painted by Bronzino or his assistants.Prior to Medici rule, Florence had been a republic. Cosimo was Duke of Florence f...
Not on display
This unidentified man is standing beside a virginal, which was a very popular household keyboard instrument in sixteenth-century Italy. He is shown half-length holding a pair of steel dividers – used to take measurements – which echo the splayed pose of his fingers against his black costume.The p...
We don’t know who the sitter in this almost postcard-sized portrait is. Although he wears the grey habit of a Franciscan, his hair is not tonsured – shaved on top as a sign of humility – as was customary for them. The precise identity of the artist is also uncertain, although he seems to have bee...
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