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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Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne review
Short of Banksy reinterpreting ‘Guernica’ accompanied by bottomless prosecco, it’s hard to think of a more solid banker of a show than this. The Courtauld Gallery is being refurbed for two years, but the decorators have hardly had time to stick the radio...Until Sunday January 20 2019
Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire review
Five big black and white canvases hang high up on a wall in the National Gallery. They show a tire shop, a tool shop, a trade school, a chemical plant and a telephone box. Under each, the exact same views in technicolour show what those places have become....Contemporary art Until Sunday October 7 2018
Thomas Cole's Journey review
The future is scary – ecological disaster, the technological singularity, destruction, annihilation… But the future’s always been scary. Back in British-born American painter Thomas Cole’s day (1801-1848) it wasn’t AI or atom bombs that struck fear, it...Painting Until 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 brother-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
Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen
No, not the long-running BBC drama about Archie MacDonald and co., the painting of a red stag by Edwin Landseer. Saved for the nation in 2017 following a public campaign, the iconic image takes a temporary sojourn south of the border. Londoners can see...Wednesday November 28 2018 - Sunday February 3 2019
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
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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.