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.
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 *on now

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 *on now

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' is 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.
Detail from Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase, 1609-10

Tulip Mania

  • 1 July 2016 2:30-3:30pm

In the 1630s, the Netherlands was gripped by 'tulip mania', a speculative frenzy unprecedented in scale.

In this talk, Dr Anne Goldgar explores the relationship between floral still life paintings, the fashion for collecting, and the desire to represent collections of objects.

She reveals how the mania for acquiring and displaying both tulips and paintings of tulips reflected deep anxieties about the transformation of Dutch society during the Golden Age.

Dr Anne Goldgar
Anne Goldgar is a Reader in Early Modern European History at King's College London. She is author of 'Tulipmania: Money, Honor and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age' (University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£7/£6 concession/ £5 Members


Floral Design

Floral Design

  • 2 July 2016 2-5pm

Capture the colours and textures of Dutch flower paintings by arranging fresh flowers and other natural materials.

Learn about the style and composition of Dutch still life paintings with a demonstration from floral designer Kim Beedie, before creating your own floral arrangements to take home under her expert tuition.

All materials included.

Kim Beedie
Kim Beedie of Figa & Co has a background in interior design, art, and floral styling. She is passionate about bringing together aspects of art and design using flowers and natural materials as her artistic medium.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


£42/£38 concession/£36 Members


Paul Farley © Leila Romaya

In conversation: Paul Farley and George Shaw

  • 8 July 2016 6:30-7:30pm

Paul Farley, award-winning poet and co-author of 'Edgelands', and Associate Artist, George Shaw, discuss the synergies in their poetry and art, including a shared fascination for England's overlooked wildernesses: the scattered wastelands, neglected copses and derelict industrial sites on the fringes of our towns and cities.

Suitable for

  • 18+


£7/ £6 concession/£5 Members


The National Gallery

The Forensic Eye

  • 21 July 2016 10:30am-1pm

Can you distinguish a Rubens from a Van Dyck by looking at a single brushstroke?

Learn to identify the true signatures of artists by examining their brushwork, with art expert Dr. Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe.

Take a closer look at artists' handling of details, such as drapery and skin tones, before testing your eye in the gallery.

Suitable for

  • 18+


£24/£23 concession/£22 Members


Van Gogh Sunflowers

National Gallery Summer School

  • 25 — 29 July 2016

Situated in London's West End, the National Gallery is at the heart of London's cultural hub and boasts one of the most outstanding collections of western European painting in the world. Where better to learn about the development of art from the 1300s to 1900 than here during this week-long summer school?

Over the course of a week, this introduction to painting provides a sustained and rich opportunity to see works by outstanding artists, to discover the development of painting techniques, to acquire an understanding of artists' subject matter and to learn more about the purpose of different paintings.

You will have the opportunity to hear from Gallery experts and educators and participate in learning sessions just a few steps away from the paintings themselves.

Sessions consist of illustrated presentations and case studies with some discussion in front of key paintings. This course is intended as an introduction to Western European painting and will familiarise you with works by artists including Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Monet.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17


£300/£275 Members/£250 concession & 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
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.