Among them is the The National Gallery in London’s famous Trafalgar Square which is home to one of the finest collections of Western European paintings.
The permanent collection of London’s National Gallery belongs to the public and entrance to see them is free of charge, though small donations are welcome. The collection includes some of the world’s most renowned artists including Rembrandt, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
For those with a keen interest in art should take the opportuntiy to go on the guided tours which are also free of charge. Alternatively audio guides are available. The impressive collection displays some of the finest paintings spanning the last eight centuries.
Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’ in London’s National Gallery
Medieval paintings between the 13th and 15th centuries predominantly depicted religious scenes, though the early renaissance period in the 15th century steered towards ancient history and mythology. One of the finest painters to emerge from this period was the Italian, Sandro Botticelli who was famed for his series of paintings on the Roman Goddess, Venus. His painting of ‘Venus and Mars’ can been seen in the National Gallery in London.
Great Italian artists of the 16th Century
In 16th century Renaissance paintings of ancient history and mythology were as important as Christian subjects and portraitists were highly prized. During this period, Italian artists led the way and the peninsula was home to some of the most endeared artists of our time. The National Gallery in London is proud to have amongst its impressive collection works of some of the Italian greats, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael amongst them.
Dutch Masters of the 17th Century
Art changed direction again in the 17th century and works of landscapes, still life and social gatherings became popular, particularly in the Netherlands. The National Art Gallery in London has amongst its collection several works from the Dutch masters, including some early Rembrandt and Pieter Lastman’s famous interpretation of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses,’ depicted in his painting of ‘Jupiter and Io.’
The French artist, Nicolas Poussin was considered to be the most important painter of the 17th Century and to commemorate his work an entire exhibition is dedicated to him, along with Peter Paul Rubens who dominated painting in Flanders during the early 1600’s.
Famous Paintings of the 18th Century
The most famous paintings the National Gallery in London has amongst its collection come from the 18th century. Works from the great British artists, Turner, Gainsborough and Hogarth are all present as is Constables, ‘The Hay Wain.’
Also present from this period are famous French impressionists, Renoir and post-impressionist, Toulouse-Lautrec, together with Monet’s, ‘The Water-Lily Pond,’ and ‘Bathers at La Grenouillere.’
The most popular painting amongst the Gallery’s collection is Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers,’ together with another of the tortured Dutch artist’s most famous painting, ‘Chair.’
Picasso Prints in London’s National Gallery
From 25th February until 7th June, you can see a collection of Picasso prints: ‘Challenging The Past.’ The exhibition showcases the Spanish artist’s extraordinary mastery of etching and prints and compares them to Rembrandt from who Picasso was inspired.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN is open from 10am-5.45pm (8.45pm on Fridays). For more details visit their website at www.nationalgallery.org.uk or phone 0207 747 2885.