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.
Duccio. 14th century. The Annunciation

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.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free admission


painting of a man sat at a table with a gold tablecloth

Goya: The Portraits

  • 7 October 2015 — 10 January 2016 *on now

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.


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.
Image above: Detail from Jan van Huysum, Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, 1736-7

Lessons in Wonder

  • 10 October 2015 2-4pm *on now

Have you ever struggled to stay focussed when looking at art? Perhaps you long to look closely yet feel an urge to give up and move on to the next painting?

Using basic mindfulness techniques, we aim to ignite a childlike sense of wonder for art and the world around us, whether you are a regular or first-time visitor.

Our collection covers a vast range of human emotions and life experiences. But what can we learn from Old Master paintings and how relevant are they to our lives today? Come with a sense of fun and exploration for these participatory sessions. No experience necessary. Refreshments included.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£45/£38 concessions/£35 Members


Detail from Francisco de Goya, A Scene from El Hechizado por Fuerza (The Forcibly Bewitched), 1798 © The National Gallery, London

Art of Witchcraft

  • 30 October 2015 6:30-8pm

From shrieking hags to seductive sorceresses, witches have cast a powerful spell upon the imagination, unleashing the creativity of artists such as Goya and Salvator Rosa.

Artist Lachlan Goudie leads a very personal and ghoulish tour of the collection. Enjoy some close looking at paintings, and find out about Lachlan's own father, the Scottish artist Alexander Goudie, who believed he was possessed by a witch, prompting him to paint many images of his demon at the helm of a gruesome tribe of hags, warlocks, and resuscitated corpses.

For more information and to book tickets please visit:

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£26/£24 concessions/£22 Members


Image above: Francisco de Goya, Doña Isabel de Porcel, before 1805 © The National Gallery, London

Fashioning Identity

  • 12 November 2015 11am-1pm

Many of Goya’s portraits depict aristocratic men and women dressed in a Spanish style of dress that was new in its context and distinct from the prevailing French vogue. Professor Aileen Ribeiro of the Courtauld Institute of Art explores themes of costume and national identity in Spain, England, and France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£14/£12 concessions/£10 Members


 © Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York

Subversive portraits: Goya and his legacy

  • 21 November 2015 11:30-3:30am

Join speakers including Yinka Shonibare, Xavier Bray, Juliet Wilson Bareau, Emma Barker, and Gill Perry to explore Goya's portraits.

This study day, held in collaboration with the Open University, will explore portraits by Goya and other artists in the context of Napoleonic Europe; showing how portraiture engaged with social and political issues. It will also consider why Goya has been such a key figure for modern and contemporary artists from Manet to Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Suitable for

  • 18+


£25/£14 concessions/£10 Members and OU students


Image: Detail from Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 © The National Gallery, London

The Sinister Side

  • 27 November 2015 6:30-8pm

Why do bad things such as death, disease, and the Devil so often come from the left-hand side of paintings? Why is Christ often depicted raising his right hand in blessing, or leaning to the left in paintings of the Crucifixion?

Left-right symbolism has played a vital and varied role in Western culture and features in works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Titian, Velázquez, and Rembrandt. In almost every culture and religion, the left side has been regarded as inferior - evil, weak, worldly, feminine - while the right side has been seen as good, strong, spiritual, and male. During the Renaissance however, there was a 'left turn' revolution when the left side or 'heart side' came to be associated with beauty and fine feeling.

This discussion tour explores the largely forgotten and misunderstood meanings of left-right symbolism in a range of paintings from the collection.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£26/£24 concessions/£22 Members


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.

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.

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.

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
Greater London


National Gallery website

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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.