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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Sea Star: Sean Scully review
You’ve got two options with Sean Scully’s abstract paintings. You can either try to read a bunch of hefty conceptual meaning into their lines and colours, or you can take them for what they are: big bloody stripy paintings. The second approach sits a...Until Sunday August 11 2019
Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light review
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida has slipped through the cracks. Art history can be a cruel bastard, and it’s hard to figure out where he fits in all of it: behind the Spanish painter are the waves of innovation of the French Impressionists, ahead of him is...Until Sunday July 7 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 May 31 2019 - Sunday March 1 2020
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 !
I love the National Gallery. It’s a wonder that it’s absolutely free. The Sainsbury wing is one of my favourite places and you can see some of the biggest names in international art.
This is my goto hangout on a lunch break. Wander into the gallery. Take a peek at the old favourites of Seurat, Van Gogh, Turner, and Da Vinci. Visit a lesser known room. Sit on the sofas with a sketch pad and go to town failing to capture that Stubbs. It's like getting a massage for your soul. If all that gets a bit much, the Cafe and the Espresso Bar are good places to catch a break from all that tiring looking at pretty, thought-provoking things.
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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