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|
|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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Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen review
Some paintings become bigger than themselves. Not many, admittedly. But a tiny minority slip out of the frame, drip off the canvas and enter public consciousness. Most paintings are things you see on a wall somewhere, and that’s all they are. But paintings...Until Sunday February 3 2019
Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits review
Centuries before television screens brought high-definition into our homes – and beauty experts promised to recreate the effect on our brows and cheeks – Lorenzo Lotto was ramping up the crystalline clarity of everything he recorded in paint. Working...Painting Until Sunday February 10 2019
Mantegna and Bellini review
Usually when you say an art show is ‘challenging’, you mean it’s got a stuff in it you don’t want to look at. And, yeah, ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ contains scenes of torture, execution, religious fanaticism, totalitarian regimes, disturbing hybrid animals...Painting Until Sunday January 27 2019
Rachel Maclean: The Lion and The Unicorn review
We’re a confusing country. Between cricket, Marmite and Geordie accents there’s an awful lot to leave you scratching your head, but there’s nothing more perplexing than the union itself; an uncomfortable patchwork of barely tolerant neighbours, composed...Until Sunday February 3 2019
Young Bomberg and the Old Masters
Imitation is, they say, the greatest form of flattery. But the best artists do more than simply copy. In this interesting-sounding free exhibition, the National Gallery shows the works of modernist painter David Bomberg alongside the Old Masters (Botticelli,...Friday January 25 2019 - Sunday March 1 2020
Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life
Louis Léopold-Boilly first found fame painting 'intimate' scenes that the French authorities found a little too ooh la la for their liking. But when the French Revolution hit, Boilly came out of the boudoir and into the streets. His large-scale scenes...Thursday February 28 2019 - Sunday May 19 2019
Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light
The name Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida doesn't regularly trip off the tongues of London art fans. Very few of the Valencian's paintings are in UK public collections and he's nowhere near as well known as his fellow countrymen Goya, Velázquez and Picasso....Monday March 18 2019 - Sunday July 7 2019
Sea Star: Sean Scully
The National Gallery continues its programme of contemporary artists responding to historic artworks with Sea Star by Sean Scully. The artist has used Turner's 'The Evening Star' as inspiration for a series of new, beautifully coloured, abstract pain...Saturday April 13 2019 - Sunday August 11 2019
The art of Paul Gauguin isn't exactly unknown (to say the least), yet there's never been an exhibition exclusively of his portraiture - until now. See how the artist put his own twist on the traditional genre of painting as he walked away from impressionism...Monday October 7 2019 - Sunday January 26 2020
Bartolomé Bermejo: Master of the Spanish Renaissance
Small, free exhibition Bartolomé Bermejo providing the perfect excuse for the National Gallery to show off their recent renovation of 'Saint Michael triumphs over the Devil', a painting well worth seeing for the deceptively cute devil alone. It's displayed...Wednesday November 27 2019 - Sunday September 29 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.
This museum is a marvel. I wonder how they can keep it free of charge. I just logged in to make a donation. Not to be missed !
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.
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