The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
With free access to over 2,300 paintings from altarpieces to the Impressionists, there's something for everyone at the National Gallery.
Open daily 10.00-18.00, Fri 10.00-21.00
The National Gallery holds regular events given or interpreted in British Sign Language (BSL).
On the last Saturday of every month the ‘Art Through Words’ programme for blind and partially sighted visitors examines one painting in the collection in detail.
The National Gallery’s permanent collection spans the period from about 1250 to 1900 and consists of Western European paintings.
Fine Art, Personalities, Religion, Social History
Key artists and exhibits
- 'The Wilton Diptych'
- Jan van Eyck 'The Arnolfini Portrait'
- Paolo Uccello 'The Battle of San Romano'
- Piero della Francesca 'The Baptism of Christ'
- Sandro Botticelli 'Venus and Mars'
- Leonardo da Vinci 'The Virgin of the Rocks'
- Michelangelo 'The Entombment'
- Giovanni Bellini 'The Doge Leonardo Loredan'
- Raphael 'The Madonna of the Pinks'
- Jan Gossaert 'The Adoration of the Kings'
- Titian 'Bacchus and Ariadne'
- Hans Holbein the Younger 'The Ambassadors'
- Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 'The Supper at Emmaus'
- Peter Paul Rubens 'Samson and Delilah'
- Anthony Van Dyck, 'Equestrian Portrait of Charles I'
- Rembrandt 'Self Portrait at the Age of 34'
- Claude 'Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula'
- Diego Velázquez 'The Rokeby Venus'
- Johannes Vermeer 'A Young Woman standing at a Virginal'
- Canaletto 'The Stonemason's Yard'
- Thomas Gainsborough 'Mr and Mrs Andrews'
- George Stubbs 'Whistlejacket'
- François-Hubert Drouais 'Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame'
- John Constable, 'The Hay Wain'
- Joseph Mallord William Turner 'The Fighting Temeraire'
- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 'Madame Moitessier'
- Claude-Oscar Monet 'Bathers at La Grenouillère'
- Georges Seurat 'Bathers at Asnières'
- Vincent Van Gogh 'Sunflowers'
- Paul Cezanne, 'Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)'
Visions of Paradise: Botticini's Palmieri Altarpiece
- 4 November 2015 — 14 February 2016 *on now
Francesco Botticini’s Assumption of the Virgin has bewildered scholars for centuries. ‘Visions of Paradise: Botticini’s Palmieri Altarpiece’ showcases new research on this monumental painting, clarifying long-perpetuated misunderstandings about its authorship, date, original location, and iconography.
The altarpiece, installed in the church of San Pier Maggiore in Florence in 1477, was commissioned by Matteo Palmieri (1406–1475) before his death, and he is portrayed kneeling at the lower left of the painting together with his wife, Niccolosa de’ Serragli, at the right.
This free exhibition explores the fascinating life of Palmieri, a true Renaissance man who trained in his native Florence as an apothecary, studied philosophy and rhetoric with the leading humanist scholars of the period, wrote histories, biographies and poetry, held top positions in the Florentine government, and developed close friendships with the Medici rulers of Florence.
- Any age
Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art
- 17 February — 22 May 2016
Described as the last painter of the Grand Style and the first of the modern masters, Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) was the pre-eminent French artist of the first half of the 19th century – complex, contradictory, a rebel, and an outsider. Few artists had more of a profound and lasting influence on his contemporaries and future generations.
Delacroix was the very engine of revolution that helped transform the art of French painting in the 19th century. Credited with liberating colour and technique from traditional rules and practices, he paved the way for new styles of painting such as Impressionism. Upon his death in 1863, he was the most revered artist in Paris. Baudelaire described the artist as, 'A poet in painting? while Cézanne observed, 'We all paint in Delacroix’s language?. Arguably he was the most influential artist of his era.
This landmark exhibition, the first presentation of Delacroix’s art in Britain for more than 50 years, will explore Delacroix’s influence on his contemporaries, such as Chassériau, Courbet, and Géricault and subsequently the later artists who found inspiration in his art, including Manet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir, Matisse and Kandinsky.
- Any age
- 6 April — 29 August 2016
The first display of its kind in 20 years, this exhibition explores the development of Dutch flower painting from its beginnings in the early 17th century to its blossoming in the late 18th century.
Coinciding with the flower shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court, 'Dutch Flowers' draws connections between the development of flower painting in the Netherlands to increased interest in botany, horticulture, and the phenomenon of ‘tulip mania’.
The exhibition presents an overview of the key artists active within the field and highlight the connections between them. Viewers are invited to examine each work closely and in detail to appreciate the stylistic and technical characteristics of each artist.
- Any age
George Shaw: My Back to Nature
- 11 May — 30 October 2016
George Shaw became the National Gallery’s ninth Rootstein Hopkins Associate Artist in 2014 and this exhibition is the unveiling of his works created over two years in the studio at the Gallery.
Shaw, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2011, is renowned for his highly detailed approach and suburban subject matter. Paintings featuring woodlands have a particular appeal for Shaw as they resonate with his own experience of walking in the forest near his home town as a teenager and the feeling that 'something out of the ordinary could happen at any time there away from the supervision of adults?.
- Any age
Painters' Paintings: From Van Dyck to Freud
- 22 June — 4 September 2016
The National Gallery owns one of the world’s greatest collections of paintings. Among them is a significant group of pictures once owned by fellow painters: Van Dyck’s Titian
Lucian Freud’s Corot. This exhibition looks for the first time at these great works of art from the point of view of their illustrious artistic provenance. They are "painters’ paintings".
Major works in their own right, these paintings are imbued with additional cachet by virtue of their ownership by great painters. They also raise a number of essential questions: What pictures did painters surround themselves with? Did they concentrate on works by their contemporaries or by the great masters of the past? Was their significance emotional, spiritual, or intellectual? How deeply did the paintings impact on their own artistic journeys? And how relevant were they to these painter-collectors’ own work?
To address these issues, the exhibition presents a series of case studies, featuring about 60 works in total. Each section is devoted to a particular painter, including Degas, Lawrence, Reynolds, Matisse, Van Dyck and Freud, and is built around one or several of his "painter's paintings" in the Gallery’s collection.
- Any age
- 12 October 2016 — 15 January 2017
Beyond Caravaggio' will be the first major exhibition in the UK to explore the influence of Caravaggio on the art of his contemporaries and followers.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) is one of the most revolutionary figures in art. His strikingly original paintings, with their intense naturalism and dramatic lighting, had a lasting impact on European art, both during his lifetime and in the decades immediately following his untimely death.
This exhibition will look at the ripple effect of Caravaggio’s influence on the art of his followers – artists as diverse as Orazio Gentileschi, Valentin de Boulogne, and Gerrit van Honthorst. Every one of them absorbed something different from Caravaggio – some borrowed his theatrical lighting whilst others sought to emulate the power of his storytelling – and helped propagate his style across Europe, giving rise to the international movement known as ‘Caravaggism’.
- Any age
- 12 February 2016 6-9pm
Taste historical aphrodisiacs, create beautiful fascinators, take part in courtly dances, and learn the language of fans.
You can also enjoy live music, free talks, and a pop up bar.
For more information please visit
All events are free and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Dare to Draw
- 13 February 2016 10:30am-1pm
Develop your observational drawing skills in the Gallery’s inspirational surroundings. Whether or not you are new to drawing, this course will encourage you to experiment in a unique and supportive environment.
£200/£185 concession/£170 Members
Magic Carpet Storytelling on Sundays
Fly away on the magic carpet at The National Gallery as it comes to land in front of a different painting each Sunday. Enjoy stories that tie in with creative workshops happening on the same day, suitable for children under 5 years old. Come along at 10.30-11.00 or 11.30-12.00 to the Education Centre.
How to obtain
Booking is not necessary but places are limited and allocated on arrival. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Email email@example.com for further details.
Take One Picture
Take One Picture
Each year the National Gallery's Take One Picture scheme focuses on a painting from the Collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms.
Paintings can be used for work in literacy, numeracy, ICT, science, history, art and design, craft, design and technology, and PSHEE and citizenship.
Each year the Gallery displays a selection of schools' work in the Take One Picture exhibition.
How to obtain
BOOKING NOW FOR WHOLE PRIMARY STAFF CPD DAYS
Please telephone 020 7747 2844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for dates and availability.
National Gallery website
National Gallery online shop
020 7747 2885
020 7747 2423