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)'
Monet: The Water Garden at Giverny
- 16 September 2014 — 16 September 2015 *on now
In 1918, the day after the Armistice was signed, Monet promised a group of paintings to the French nation as a 'monument to peace'. Known as the 'Water-Lilies', they continue to captivate visitors almost a century later.
Claude Monet lived at Giverny, Normandy, for half of his long life; during his final decades, he almost exclusively painted the garden filled with water-lilies he had created there. A keen horticulturist, he intended the garden 'for the pleasure of the eyes and also for the purpose of having subjects to paint'.
This display highlights the National Gallery's exceptional holdings of Monet's Giverny pictures, shown together for the first time in 17 years.
- Family friendly
Take One Picture
- 6 June — 20 September 2015 *on now
The works in this display demonstrate the innovative ways in which schools have responded to Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil by Bartolomé Bermejo.
This year's display features a wide range of responses to Bermejo's work in a range of media. From drawing to collage and metalwork, the diverse range of works on show reflects the richness of creative responses to the painting. Shape and size, light and dark, good versus evil were just some of the themes explored by the children.
About the painting
Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil (1468), which is on display in Room 63, depicts Saint Michael wielding his sword and defeating a dramatically painted devil with glowing red eyes. Saint Michael was the archangel who led God’s army against the rebel angels led by Lucifer and cast them out of heaven. Taken from the Book of Revelation, this episode caught the medieval imagination and became a popular subject for artists. In paintings Saint Michael is often shown in armour and defeating the devil in the form of a dragon. In Bermejo’s interpretation, the reflection of the holy city of Jerusalem is visible on Saint Michael’s golden breastplate.
About Take One Picture
Launched in 1995, Take One Picture is the National Gallery’s countrywide scheme for primary schools. Each year the Gallery focuses on one painting from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. Each year a display of work produced by schools based on the painting is shown at the National Gallery, and a selection is published on the Take One Picture website.
For further details on the project, visit www.takeonepicture.org.uk
- Any age
Admission is free.
Art in Dialogue: Duccio | Caro
- 13 June — 8 November 2015 *on now
'Art in Dialogue: Duccio | Caro' is a creative interaction of two works of art made almost 700 years apart: The Annunciation by the Sienese painter Duccio (active 1278–1319) and ‘Duccio Variation No. 3’, one of seven sculptures that the British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro (1924–2013) made in response to Duccio’s painting. This is the first time that this painting and sculpture have been seen together.
Caro’s decision to make work in relation to the 'Annunciation' – part of Duccio’s great double-sided altarpiece for the high altar of Siena Cathedral – was the result of an invitation from the National Gallery in 1999.
With its spatial and architectural uncertainties the 'Annunciation’ has many affinities with Caro’s preoccupations. Caro was deeply moved by Duccio’s tender depiction of the meeting of the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, writing to the curator Richard Morphet that it "emanates feelings of love. It’s a delicate picture, very still".
Juxtaposed, the two works are in active dialogue with one another. Both play with space, movement, and architecture; challenging the viewer and inviting exploration.
- Any age
Soundscapes: Listening to Paintings
- 8 July — 6 September 2015 *on now
After the highly successful and experimental 'Metamorphosis: Titian 2012', where contemporary artists – including choreographers, composers, dancers, poets and visual artists – responded to paintings by Renaissance master Titian, the National Gallery is inviting six sound artists and musicians to each select a painting from the National Gallery’s collection and to create new work in response to it.
Each artist will be given a room in the Sainsbury Wing exhibition galleries in which their chosen painting and their sound/musical response will be installed.
The new sound pieces will be site specific and can only be heard in the context of the 'Soundscapes' exhibition with the painting that inspired it. Relying on minimal text, the idea is to give visitors the opportunity to experience and think about these works of art in a very different way, through what they hear as much as what they see.
This is an exhibition that celebrates the National Gallery’s collection, highlighting its ongoing inspiration for contemporary artists, this time from the musical world.
- Family friendly
Goya: The Portraits
- 7 October 2015 — 10 January 2016
Francisco de Goya (1746 -1828) is one of Spain’s most celebrated artists. He was considered a supremely gifted portrait painter and an excellent social commentator who took the genre of portraiture to new heights through his ability to reveal the psychology of his sitter.
This landmark exhibition - the first ever focusing solely on his portraits - re-appraises Goya’s genius as a portraitist and provide a penetrating insight into both public and private aspects of his life. It explores Goya’s ambitions and development as a painter, and his innovative and unconventional approach to portraiture which often broke traditional boundaries.
By bringing together more than 50 of his most outstanding portraits from around the world, including drawings and miniatures, and organising them in a chronological and thematic sequence, the show enables viewers to engage for the first time with the full range of Goya’s technical, stylistic and psychological development as a portraitist.
- 8 August 2015 11am-4pm
Loose, flowing waves crowned with braids, decked with beads, gems, pearls, and ribbon, or a plucked hairline to show off your beautiful forehead and superior intelligence? Whether you are a damsel in distress or a knight in shining armour, this special event will help you find hairstyling and cosmetic inspiration in the paintings of Botticelli, Titian, Cranach, and others.
Study paintings and learn about Renaissance hair and beauty with art historian Jacqui Ansell. Enjoy live hairstyling demonstrations led by hair and make-up stylist Anneke Irving, who will recreate an elaborate coiffure, fashionable among wealthy 14th-century Florentine women. There will also be an opportunity to try out some basic, practical skills. No experience necessary. Refreshments provided.
- Family friendly
Full £48.00 Conc £45.00 Member £40.00
Sights of Sound
- 14 August 2015
Noise may be invisible but that has never discouraged artists from attempting to register it in paint. How can visual records of musical performance and other forms of sound-making inform our readings of the paintings?
In this tour we explore and discuss the pictorial devices used by artists to suggest the presence and experience of sound, and consider how it is that we remain aware of sound, though the paintings themselves are mute.
Friday Lates socials
Start your weekend here. Join National Gallery experts for a glass of wine in the café followed by a talk. Present your ticket in the café after the event and receive a 25% discount on food.
Full £30.00 Conc £28.00 Member £26.00
Soundscapes: Drawing to Music
- 28 August 2015 6:30-8:30pm
Experience tutored life-drawing classes in a unique environment. Referencing paintings from the collection and working from the nude model in our studio, you will experiment with a range of techniques and materials. Booked individually, each session explores a different theme inspired by our paintings and exhibitions. Suitable for all levels of ability.
Full £15.00 Conc £12.00
Sensational Sounds family festival day
- 29 August 2015
Musical magic carpet
10.30am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 2pm - 30 Minutes
Journeys through sound
11am, 12pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm - 40 Minutes
Sounds and song from the Stonemason's Yard
Families ages 5–11
10.30am, 12pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm - 1 Hour
11am–1pm and 2pm-4pm - Drop In
Secret Sounds printed trail
10am–4pm - Pick up free trails from the Piggott Education Centre entrance
Free admission to all activities
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.
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.
National Gallery website
National Gallery online shop
020 7747 2885
020 7747 2423