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National Gallery, London

The National Gallery is a renowned art museum located in Trafalgar Square in Central London’s City of Westminster. The history of the art museum spans 200 years and collections here belong to the British government on behalf of the public. Today, the National Gallery is home to many priceless works of art by famous European artists. Entry to the art museum is free.

The artworks at the National Gallery are from purchases by the British government as well as from private donations. The art museum is home to some of the greatest paintings in the world and in the same league as the celebrated Louvre Museum in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the National Gallery is the most visited art museum in the UK and among the most visited in the world attracting over six million visitors each year!

National Gallery by Adrian Pingstone

About

The history of the National Gallery began in 1824 when the British government purchased 38 paintings from the heirs of John Angerstein. Exhibits of the paintings were initially in Angerstein’s former townhouse in Pall Mall, a street in the City of Westminster. The collections grew and the art museum eventually moved to its present location in Trafalgar Square in the 1838. Today the art museum houses over 2,300 paintings dating from the 13th century to early 20th century.

Exhibits

It’s the large number of priceless masterpieces rather than the total number of artworks that make the National Gallery an exceptional world-class art museum. Collections include all the major styles of European paintings including Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical and Impressionist. Many of the paintings exhibited here are by some of the world’s greatest artists including Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya and Van Gogh.

Entrance hall at the National Gallery by M. Chohan

Paintings at the National Gallery span eight centuries comprising several periods in European art including 13th-15th, 16th, 17th, early 18th to 20th centuries. The Medieval paintings from 13th to 15th centuries depict mainly religious scenes, ancient history and mythology while the 16th century paintings are associated with pan-European Renaissance artists. The 17th century paintings include still life, scenes of everyday life, landscapes and even the audacious. The art establishment continued to produce paintings in the traditional styles in the 18th century but a new art movement emerged with the birth of Realism in the 19th century.

Exhibition hall at the National Gallery by Jordiferrer

Renowned collections include the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck (1434), Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci (1483-86), The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein (1533) and The Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh (1880s). Other notable paintings include Self-Portrait at the Age of 34 by Rembrandt (1640), Agony in the Garden by Bellini (1459–65), The Judgement of Paris by Reuben (1636–39) and Snow at Argenteuil by Monet (1874-75). For collectors, the gallery offers over 2,000 high quality digital reproductions of paintings (exhibited at the art museum) in a variety of sizes, frames and finishes for sale.

Visiting the National Gallery

Admission to the National Gallery is free. The art museum opens daily (closes on 24th, 25th and 26th December and 1st January) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and weekends. On Fridays, the museum opens at 10 a.m. and closes by 9 p.m.

The nearest London Underground stations are Embankment (serving the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern Lines) and Charing Cross (serving the Bakerloo and Northern Lines) Stations. Both stations are about 10 minutes walk from the National Gallery.

National Gallery on the Map

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

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