National Gallery

The National Gallery, London
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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.
Photograph of Chris Ofili at the National Gallery

Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic

  • 26 April — 28 August 2017 *on now

Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili unveils a new work – see his first foray into the medium of tapestry.

Commissioned by the Clothworkers’ Company, Ofili has been collaborating with the internationally renowned Dovecot Tapestry Studio to see his design translated into a hand-woven tapestry. The imagery reflects Ofili’s ongoing interest in classical mythology and the stories, magic, and colour of the Trinidadian landscape he inhabits.

Ofili returns to the National Gallery following the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

The tapestry goes on permanent display in the Clothworkers’ Hall following this exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Painting depicting montage of images of the virgin and saints

Giovanni da Rimini: An Early 14th-Century Masterpiece Reunited

  • 14 June — 8 October 2017 *on now

Learn about a key moment in the history of art, when emphasis on observation and realism was born.

The exquisite Scenes from the Lives of the Virgin and other Saints by Giovanni da Rimini, the most talented artist in 14th-century Rimini, was purchased by the National Gallery in 2015.

Long thought of as part of a diptych together with a panel depicting ‘Scenes from the Life of Christ’ in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome, the exhibition reunites the paintings, a reconstruction never before seen in the UK.

Presented with outstanding loans including works by artists working in Rimini in the early 14th century, exceptional ivory plaques, and important Italian Trecento paintings from the National Gallery, the exhibition reveals how these innovative works combine the discerning details of late-Byzantine icons with a new, more expressive style.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


 Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, 'The Red Ballet Skirts', about 1900

Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell

  • 20 September 2017 — 7 May 2018

A rare opportunity to see stunning paintings, pastels, and drawings by leading French Impressionist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

The Burrell Collection holds one of the greatest collections of Degas’s works in the world. Rarely seen in public, this exhibition marks the first time the group of 20 pastels has been shown outside of Scotland, since they were acquired.

One of the greatest artistic innovators of his age, Degas found new ways of depicting modern Parisian life; pursuing a vision distinct from that of his fellow Impressionists. He also relentlessly experimented with materials, particularly pastel that he came to prefer over oil paint.

Coinciding with the centenary of Degas’s death, and including complementary works from the National Gallery Collection, the exhibition offers unique insight into the practices and preoccupations of a complex and intensely private artist. Exhibition organised by the National Gallery in collaboration with the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


John Everett Millais, 'Mariana', 1851

Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites

  • 2 October 2017 — 2 April 2018

Discover how van Eyck’s 'Arnolfini Portrait' was one of the beacons by which the Pre-Raphaelites forged a radical new style of painting.

Acquired by the National Gallery in 1842, the Arnolfini Portrait informed the Pre-Raphaelites’ belief in empirical observation, their ideas about draughtsmanship, colour and technique, and the ways in which objects in a picture could carry symbolic meaning.

The exhibition will bring together for the first time the 'Arnolfini Portrait' with paintings from the Tate collection and loans from other museums, to explore the ways in which Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), Sir John Everett Millais (1829–1896) and William Holman Hunt (1827–1910), among others, were influenced by the painting in their work.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Admission charge applies. Free for members.


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, Odalisque in Grisaille (detail), about 1824-34

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White

  • 30 October 2017 — 18 February 2018

Explore the tradition of painting in black and white from its beginnings in the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and into the 21st century.

Painting using predominantly black-and-white pigments has long held a fascination for artists, yet there has never been a major exhibition on the subject.

‘Monochrome’ presents a series of case studies that investigate where and when grisaille painting was used and to what effect: from early religious works to paintings that emulate sculpture or respond to other media such as printmaking, photography, and film.

Comprising works on glass, vellum, ceramic, silk, wood, and canvas by artists such as Leonardo, Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and Gerhard Richter (1932–), ‘Monochrome’ encourages visitors to trace the fascinating but little-studied history of black-and-white painting.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Admission charge applies. Free for members.


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.
Jean-Antoine Watteau, Scale of Love, 1715–18, The National Gallery, London

Slow art: Rococo frivolity? Watteau’s 'Scale of Love'

  • 4 September 2017 2-4pm

‘Stop thinking about art as objects and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences’, said Mark Rothko.

It takes time for a painting to yield its secrets. Looking slowly at art can lead to discoveries, such as sensory observations, personal and intellectual insights, and emotional responses.

Join Marc Woodhead to look intensely at a single painting. Be curious, listen to others, share thoughts, be moved, and above all, savour the experience at these eye-opening and inspiring sessions.

We consider the painting's original meaning and explore the validity of our personal encounter with art. Can we experience paintings on our own terms?

Sessions include a Gallery visit and a discussion in a conference room.

In this session we reflect on Watteau's The Scale of Love. Is the subject of this painting superficial, mysterious or profound?


£28/£27 conc./£25 Members


Looking to music

Learning to look: Looking to music

  • 15 September 2017 2-4pm

How does music enhance our experience of paintings? Can sound evoke multiple interpretations of a single image?

In this session we explore simple ways to use music as a tool for close and effective looking, with sound expert Julian Mayers.


£34/£32 conc./£30 Members


Hannah Rothschild

Hannah Rothschild in conversation with Caroline Campbell

  • 18 September 2017 6:30-7:30pm

Hannah Rothschild, Chair of The Board of Trustees, discusses her favourite National Gallery paintings with Caroline Campbell, The Jacob Rothschild Head of the Curatorial Department.


Hannah Rothschild is a writer, filmmaker, and a company director. A former employee of the BBC specialising in documentary feature films, she has also written screenplays for Ridley Scott and Working Title. She is a freelance journalist and author of the biography 'The Baroness' and a novel, 'The Improbability of Love', the founder of the Artist on Film Trust, and a trustee of Waddesdon Manor and several charitable foundations. She has been Chair of the National Gallery since 2015.

Caroline Campbell is The Jacob Rothschild Head the Curatorial Department and Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 at the National Gallery, London. Earlier in her career, Caroline held curatorial positions at The Courtauld Gallery, London (2005–12, where she was Curator of Paintings), the National Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. She has curated and co-curated many exhibitions, including 'Bellini and the East' (2005–6), 'Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence' (2009); 'Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting' (2014) and 'Duccio/Caro: In Dialogue' (2015).


£16/£14 conc./£12 Members


English or French artist (?), The Wilton Diptych, about 1395–9

Stories of art: Module one: 1250–1400

  • 20 September 2017 2-4pm
  • 27 September 2017 2-4pm
  • 4 October 2017 2-4pm
  • 11 October 2017 2-4pm
  • 18 October 2017 2-4pm
  • 25 October 2017 2-4pm

Explore Medieval and Early Renaissance painting such as the Wilton Diptych, and the art of Duccio, Giotto, and Jacopo di Cione.

Stories of art
A modular introduction to art history using the Gallery’s collection to explore key themes and stories in art. This course is ideal for people with some existing knowledge of art history.

The National Gallery Collection reveals many stories about art. Enrich your understanding of them by signing up for this modular course. Gallery experts including curators, conservators, educators, archivists, and scientists will share their knowledge with you; sessions are structured around key themes such as faith, artists’ materials, society, and stories.

The full course consists of six modules, although each module stands alone:

Module one: 1250–1400 (20 September – 25 October 2017).
Tutor: Siân Walters
Module two: 1400–1500 (15 November – 20 December 2017).
Tutor: Siân Walters
Module three: 1500–1600 (10 January – 4 February 2018).
Tutor: Richard Stemp
Module four: 1600–1700 (21 February – 28 March 2018).
Tutor: Linda Bolton
Module five: 1700–1800 (11 April – 16 May 2018). Tutor: Richard Stemp
Module six: 1800–1925 (starts 30 May – 4 July 2018). Tutor: Karly Allen


£150/£125 conc./£100 Members


Pisanello, The Virgin and Child with Saints, about 1435–41

Life drawing salon: Pisanello and silverpoint

  • 22 September 2017 6:30-8:30pm

Until the late 15th century, silverpoint was the standard medium in which artists trained to draw the human body.

Inspired by Pisanello, who used silverpoint extensively in preparation for his paintings, explore the properties and constraints of this technique and enjoy an opportunity to slow down the drawing process and build up form in subtle tones.


£16/£15 conc./£14 Members


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Beach Scene, about 1869–70

Duccio to Degas: Introducing art in the Western European tradition 1250–1925

  • 25 — 29 September 2017

Over the course of a week, learn about the development of art from 1250 to 1925. This introduction to the collection provides a rich opportunity to discover artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Monet, to examine their techniques and subject matter, and to explore the function of different paintings. The course is led by Gallery experts, and allows for questions and discussion.


Who is the tutor?
Sessions will be led by National Gallery experts, including curators and conservators as well as Gallery educators.

Where will we study?
Sessions will take place in front of paintings and in the conference room.

How is the course structured?
A typical day will begin with an introductory session, reviewing themes from the previous day. This will be followed by a combination of gallery-based teaching and slide lectures. At the end, you will be offered a celebratory drink and awarded with your certificate of completion.

Do I need to bring anything?
Please bring pens and a notebook.

Is food and accommodation provided?
Morning and afternoon coffee is included, as is lunch on the first day, so that attendees can meet fellow course-mates. Accommodation is not provided.

Who can attend?
This course is intended for adult learners. You must be over 16 years old. Participants under 18 will be required to supply a completed parent/guardian consent form, supplied after booking and prior to the start of the course.

Is this the same as the course held in July?
This is a repeat of the 'Duccio to Degas' course held in July 2016 and 2017, with some changes subject to the availability of speakers and paintings.

What have others said about the course?
“The course was jam-packed with fascinating and stimulating information presented in a lively way by very well informed and knowledgeable presenters.”

"The course improved my ability to enjoy looking at art by giving me a tool kit to apply. I learned how to look at paintings and to take the time to see and think about the composition and story. I learned to slow down when looking at a painting and not to try to see too much.”

“All the lecturers have been great, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They accepted all comments and points of view with great generosity. The general atmosphere among the participants was very nice and relaxing.”

“Well structured, highly informative, well-paced, fun, energetic and vibrant. Not the least intimidating. A great way to spend a week!”


£385/£350 conc./£325 Members/£300 Students

Francesco Guardi, Venice: The Punta della Dogana with S. Maria della Salute, about 1770

Slow art: A romantic destination? Guardi’s Venice

  • 2 October 2017 2-4pm

‘Stop thinking about art as objects and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences’, said Mark Rothko.

It takes time for a painting to yield its secrets. Looking slowly at art can lead to discoveries, such as sensory observations, personal and intellectual insights, and emotional responses.

Join Marc Woodhead to look intensely at a single painting. Be curious, listen to others, share thoughts, be moved, and above all, savour the experience at these eye-opening and inspiring sessions.

We consider the paintings’ original meaning and explore the validity of our personal encounter with art. Can we experience paintings on our own terms?

Sessions include a Gallery visit and a discussion in a conference room.

In this session we look at Guardi's paintings of Venice and consider whether these views depict a romantic destination or a damp and difficult place to work and live?


£28/£27 conc./£25 Members


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers, about 1890-1900

Life drawing salon: Degas and ballet

  • 6 October 2017 6:30-8:30pm

Explore the potential of the dancer's body to experiment with colour, cropping, and composition. Ballet dancer Alice Labant will take up poses that challenge notions of the graceful performer and celebrate the awkward and unfamiliar, in response to works by Degas.


£16/£15 conc./£14 Members


Snowdon -5 Degrees © Joseph Connor

The Big Draw digital workshop: Bring a painting to life

  • 27 October 2017 6:30-8:30pm

Be inspired this Halloween by dark, stormy landscapes, and bring a painting to life by creating your own short animated film at our digital drawing workshop.

Digital artist Joseph Connor will guide you in creating digital paintings that capture the colour and mood of the original painting. Using your own smart device, learn how to pull the colours from your chosen landscape painting onto digital canvases in three simple steps, before compiling each stage into a short video animation to post online or share with friends. See one Joseph made earlier.

Please bring your own smart device (iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Android phone or Android tablet) and download the ArtRage and KineMaster apps (purchases and downloads of applications are at users' discretion).

The theme for the Big Draw Festival is Living Lines.


£16/£15 conc./£14 Members


John Berger

Should every picture tell a story? John Berger on film

  • 28 October 2017 11am-4pm

Organised and presented in collaboration with the British Film Institute (BFI), a panel of art and film experts celebrate the life and work of art critic and writer John Berger at a unique day of screenings and discussion, featuring rare films from the BFI National Archive.

Examine Berger’s ascent into art criticism and his burgeoning career as a broadcaster crowned by his most famous work, ‘Ways of Seeing’ and enjoy some of his less familiar interpretations of art and visual culture including footage never rebroadcast on television since it first aired.

We will consider how Berger defined himself as a storyteller, reflect on what it means to watch him on film at the National Gallery, and contemplate his enduring contribution to the way we interpret fine art.


£35/£30 conc./£25 Members/£10 Students


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
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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.