First-class art for every class of art lover
Established in 1824 as a new art collection for the enjoyment and education of all, the National Gallery first consisted of 38 pictures, put on display at a house on Pall Mall while a purpose-built gallery was constructed. There are now over 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by the French Impressionists. The new museum opened in 1838, located in Trafalgar Square because it was deemed to be at the heart of London – easy for rich people to visit from the west by carriage and also convenient for poor people coming by foot from east London.
Free to visit, the National Gallery is still as welcoming to all as it was back then. Anyone can swing by and gaze on Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ for ten minutes on their way to work, or stay all day and admire JMW Turner’s Bequest or Cézanne’s ‘Bathers’.
The gallery has blockbuster exhibitions, music concerts and courses that do carry an entry charge, but most of the collection isn’t ticketed, and there are free talks each day, which you don’t need to book in advance. These take a closer look at a different painting or theme each time.
There are free sessions for families on Sundays and during school holidays, too. These give children aged five to 12 the chance to experience the grand gallery atmosphere whilst getting creative in drawing and art workshops designed for their level of interest. These are drop-in, but demand can be high, so you might have to wait for spaces unless you arrive early.
|Venue name:||National Gallery||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||Open daily 10am–6pm, Fridays 10am–9pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24–26.|
|Transport:||Tube: Charing Cross|
|Price:||Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions|
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Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell
French Impressionist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was an extremely private man – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nose around in his life and find out what made him tick at this exhibition of paintings, pastels and drawings. His representations of...Until Monday May 7 2018 Free
Monet and Architecture review
How much can anyone be bothered to say, let alone bloody listen to, about Claude Monet any more? The impressionist master is one of the great names of art history, a revolutionary, a game-changer, yada, yada, yada. He’s the defining nineteenth-century...Until Saturday July 28 2018
Murillo: The Self Portraits
A painter as baroque and Spanish as his name suggests, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was known for his lively depictions of both saints and street urchins. To celebrate his 400th birthday, the National Gallery are shining a light on a lesser explored subject...Painting Until Monday May 21 2018
Tacita Dean: Still Life review
‘Still Life’ is one of three Tacita Dean exhibitions across major London institutions this spring (‘Portrait’ at the National Portrait Gallery and ‘Landscape’ at the Royal Academy are the others), but it looks like the National Gallery got the dregs....Contemporary art Until Monday May 28 2018
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire
An exhibition which compliments the National Gallery's Thomas Cole show, the elder statesman of Pop Art Ed Ruscha presents a vision of modern American landscape. Focusing on the idea of 'Modern Empire' via industrial buildings of downtown LA, the boxy...Contemporary art Monday June 11 2018 - Sunday October 7 2018
Thomas Cole's Journey
Although he was born in Bolton, 19th century painter Thomas Cole is a bit of an unknown figure to audiences outside of the US. In fact, this the first time many of his works have been seen beyond America. Like a yankee Turner, his dreamy landscapes of...Painting Monday June 11 2018 - Sunday October 7 2018
Mantegna and Bellini
Venetian master artist Giovanni Bellini has made an indelible mark on the history of art, not least for the cocktail named in honour of the peachy hues of his paintings. His son-in-law, fellow Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna was a fan of a slightly...Painting Monday October 1 2018 - Sunday January 27 2019
Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits
Portraitist Lorenzo Lotto devoted a life's work to depicting the middle class problems of Renaissance Venice. Italian merchant families in the 1500s had a bit more to worry about than an avocado shortage: Biblical references and creepy Renaissance babies...Painting Monday November 5 2018 - Sunday February 10 2019
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Sometime between 1565 and 1570, Giovanni Battista Moroni painted Il Tagliapani (The Tailor) on view in the National Gallery's Room 12.
Il Tagliapani emerges from black space a free man without pretension but with a diginified chest and a judging eye. He wears a cream-coloured rough-textured doublet, dotted lines flowing down the front. A brown belt decorates his waist. Blood red round hose completes the clothing. His right hand, clasping gleaming black shears, rests on a table. He is about to slit black material along a dotted line.
Moroni's depiction of Il Tagliapani as the equal of his clientele is a great achievement for a Sixteenth Century painter, but there is more.
Shears may be used as a tool or a weapon, depending on necessity.
Moroni anticipates five hundred years of history.
Nothing better than seeing exhibitions early on a weekday morning. Less crowds, free coffee/tea and pastries and just some peace away from the hustle and bustle as soon as you walk in...
I love this museum in Trafalgar Square. You can spend a couple of hours easily. Good place also to hace scone and tea. Always plenty of tourist
As good (if not better) than the National Gallery in Washington. Highly Recommend This if your cup runs dry.
This is one of those gems it's easy to take for granted as a Londoner. Remember the permanent exhibition is free, which means you can pop in and take in a few Turners (for example) for nothing in the middle of your day. One of the many reasons for city living…
The current Goya exhibition is wonderful. This is a great place to see some fantastic and historical works of art, and all for free!
Perhaps the finest and among the most visited art museums in the world.
What to say? fantastic especially the rooms devoted to the Impressionists ....... worth visiting! Among the other you are allowed to take pictures without flash.
Van Gogh exhibit is a must see for any art lover, it's truly moving to see his most famous pieces together, absolutely beautiful. Whole gallery is amazing.
This is an essential visit to an old friend, majestic, personal, inspiring and full of hidden treasure. Always stopping to see the breathtaking delaroche "execution of lady jane grey", a powerful, tragic and vast piece of work. The National Gallery is truly a space for everyone, anyone, all of us.
A perfect place to keep an eye on for different exhibitions to lose yourself in. Wonderful building as well.