National Gallery

(c) The National Gallery, London Photo: Philip Sayer
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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.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

Open daily 10.00-18.00, Fri 10.00-21.00

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

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.

Collection details

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)'
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The Lion Hunt

Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art

  • 17 February — 22 May 2016 *on now

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.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Dutch Flowers

Dutch Flowers

  • 6 April — 29 August 2016 *on now

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.

Suitable for

  • Any age
George Shaw

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?.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly


Italian Woman

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
Reynolds’s Rembrandt
Matisse’s Degas
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.

Suitable for

  • Any age
St John the Baptist

Beyond Caravaggio

  • 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’.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A painting of men shooting arrows at another man

Martyrdom and Eternity

  • 13 May 2016 6-7pm

Performed in front of the painting The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian in Room 57, this concert, presented by the Choir of St Pancras Parish Church for The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, includes music by Benjamin Britten and contemporary composers.

Suitable for

  • Any age




The hands of someone drawing in pencil on an easel

Drawing Mindfully

  • 13 May 2016 6:30-8:30pm

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up," said Picasso

Silence your inner critic and release your inner creativity. Drawing mindfully is about letting go of the desired outcome and reconnecting with the pleasure of mark-making.

Dare to be playful with colour and materials, while exploring the moment-by-moment experience of drawing with the help of simple mindfulness techniques.

No experience necessary. Materials provided.

This workshop will be led by Karly Allen and Sue Bolton, and can be accessed via the Pigott Education Centre Entrance.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£34/£32 concession/£28 Members


National Gallery

Art, music, and Orientalism

  • 19 May 2016 1-1:45pm

Writer and broadcaster Gavin Plumley and pianist Sholto Kynoch discuss the wider impact of Orientalism in the early 19th century.

Eugène Delacroix was fascinated by the alluring Orient, but he was not alone, and today's event discusses composers who were equally drawn to this subject, including Berlioz, Widor, Franck and Saint-Saëns.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Admission Free


Animal Mania

Animal Mania

  • 4 June 2016 10:30am-4pm

Join a carnival and parade your way through the National Gallery as your favorite animal, create new flying hybrid creatures and listen to stories and music inspired by the collection.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 7-10
  • 14-15
  • 5-6
  • 11-13


Free Admission.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

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

Please telephone 020 7747 2844 or email 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 for further details.

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
Greater London


National Gallery website

National Gallery online shop



020 7747 2885


020 7747 2423

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.