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What to see at the National Gallery in London: timetables, prices and advice

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In the heart of the historic center, the National Gallery of London houses more than two thousand works purchased by the UK government and belonging to the British population. Organized in chronological order, it exhibits works ranging from the Middle Ages to post-impressionism and which are representative of the mastery of the greatest interpreters of Western art. Admission to the permanent collections is always free, while some exceptional events may require a fee.

Index

  1. What to see and how to visit the National Gallery
  2. Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci
  3. Baptism of Christ, Piero della Francesca
  4. Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli
  5. Deposition of Christ in the sepulcher, Michelangelo Buonarroti
  6. Madonna of the carnations, Raffaello Sanzio
  7. Samson and Delilah, Pieter paul Rubens
  8. Self-portrait with embroidered shirt, Rembrandt
  9. Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh
  10. Bathers at La Grenouillère, Claude Monet
  11. Bacchus and Ariadne, Titian
  12. Hours and prices
  13. Online tickets and guided tours
  14. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit the National Gallery

The National Gallery in London is essentially divided into two levels, even if the building that houses it is much larger.



  • Level 0: in addition to the entrance there are mainly services, such as the cloakroom, the refreshment points and some shops. Here, there is also an exhibition area, where you can admire paintings by Hals, Hobbema, Rembrandt and Rubens.
  • Level 2: it is entirely dedicated to the collections, arranged in chronological order: the Sainsbury Wing houses the paintings from 1200 to 1500; the rooms numbered from 1 to 14, those from 1500 to 1600; from 15 to 32 are the rooms dedicated to paintings from 1600 to 1700; the works up to 1930 are housed in rooms 33 to 47.

We recommend that you follow the route as described, although the Sainsbury Room starts from room 51.
Here are some of the most important works to see inside the museum.



1- Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci

That is exhibited in this gallery, it is a second version of the work, the first of which is kept in Paris, in the Louvre museum. While maintaining the same pyramid composition, the difference with the first realization is that here the characters are made clearer, while the angel does not make the unusual gesture of pointing to John the Baptist.

  • Author: Leonardo da Vinci
  • Period of realization: from 1494 to about 1508, with intervals
  • Technology: oil on the table
  • SIZES: 189,5 cm x 120 cm

2 - Baptism of Christ, Piero della Francesca

The representation of this moment in the life of Jesus appears to conform to the Gospel account, thanks to the presence of the dove of the Holy Spirit that appears while Jesus is about to receive the baptism from St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. If you immediately see a completely natural aspect, in reality this painting is the result of very precise mathematical rules.

  • Author: Piero della Francesca
  • Period of realization: from 1445
  • Technology: tempera on wood
  • SIZES: 167 cm x 116 cm

3 - Venus and Mars, Sandro Botticelli

This painting, which develops horizontally and the presence of a wasp's nest in one corner, suggests that it was created on the occasion of a wedding, as a decoration of a backrest. The depiction in the classical style, on the other hand, recalls Botticelli's stay in Rome, during which the artist was able to study the ancient sarcophagi of the city.



  • Author: Sandro Botticelli
  • Period of realization1482-1483
  • Technology: Mixed technique
  • SIZES: 69 cm x 173 cm

4 - Deposition of Christ in the tomb, Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo's work considered unfinished and of which one piece, the one depicting the Magdalene, is kept at the Louvre museum in Paris. In this painting, the master confirms his preference at a mature age for the representation of the naked Christ; in this case, he is supported by three figures and they head towards the sepulcher.

  • Author: Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • Period of realization: from 1500-1501
  • Technology: tempera on wood
  • SIZES: 161,7 cm x 149,9 cm

5 - Madonna of the carnations, Raffaello Sanzio

In this work by Raphael, the classic formal relationship between the Madonna and the Child gives way to a more tender and familiar intimacy, full of emotions. The carnations shown inside the painting symbolize the blood of the Passion and the marriage of Christ with the Church.

  • Author: Raffaello Sanzio
  • Period of realization: from 11506-1507
  • Technology: oil on the table
  • SIZES: 27,9 cm x 22,4 cm

6 - Samson and Delilah, Pieter paul Rubens

The perspective of this image takes into account its original function, which is the decoration of a large hall, probably placed over a fireplace. The work depicts Samson collapsing on the legs of Dalila who, after discovering his strength enclosed in his hair, is corrupted by the Philistines to kidnap him and render him helpless.



  • Author: Pieter paul Rubens
  • Period of realization: 1609
  • Technology: oil on the table
  • SIZES: 185 cm x 1205 cm

7 - Self-portrait with embroidered shirt, Rembrandt

As in many of his self-portraits, in which Rembrandt loved to paint himself in clothes from other eras, here he is with the typical clothes of the sixteenth century, probably to be inspired by Titian. The author presents himself with the pride typical of youth, painted with sober and uniform colors, almost poor, like black.

  • Author: Rembrandt
  • Period of realization: 1640
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas
  • SIZES: 93 cm x 80 cm

8 - Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh

It is just one of the many paintings that make up the series dedicated to sunflowers: throughout the cycle, Van Gogh depicts them in each phase of flowering, from bud to withering. For the artist, these flowers represent a moment of joy and optimism, in contrast to some works made before his death, which evoke torment and tension.

  • Author: Vincent Van Gogh
  • Period of realization: 1888
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas
  • SIZES: 92,1 cm x 73 cm

9 - Bathers in La Grenouillère, Claude Monet

Monet, who loved to immortalize moments of everyday life, created this work during his summer holidays in the vicinity of the Grenouillère, a place where women of easy habits often met to take a bath, thus delighting Parisian visitors. The painting is characterized by contrasts of light and shadow and quick brushstrokes, a symbol of immediacy.

  • Author: Claude Monet
  • Period of realization: 1869
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas
  • SIZES: 73 cm x 92 cm

10 - Bacchus and Ariadne, Titian

This painting is the second made by Titian for the Bacchanalian cycle, commissioned by the Duke of Ferrara. For the execution of the work, the artist had access to the most important color emporium in the world, that of Venice, using different pigmentations that, at that time, characterized most of the paintings created precisely by Venetian painters. .

  • Author: Titian
  • Period of realization1520-1523
  • Technology: oil painting on canvas
  • SIZES: 176,5 cm x 191 cm

Hours and prices

  • every day, from 10:00 to 18:00; on Fridays extended opening until 21:00. Closed on 1st January and from 24th to 26th December.
  • Best time to avoid queues: early in the morning or after lunch.
  • free.

Online tickets and guided tours

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: being one of the most important museums in the city, with free admission, it is frequented by many tourists; therefore, we recommend that you arrive at the entrance at opening hours or after lunch.
  2. Watch out for restrictions: it is allowed to bring inside the museum only bags that do not exceed the dimensions of 45x25x25 cm; it is not possible to bring any type of suitcase or luggage. It is also not possible to introduce food or drinks.
  3. Minimum time: we advise you to consider a minimum of three hours for the visit.
  4. Photo and video: in some areas of the museum, specially marked, it is not possible to take photos or video.

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: the gallery is located right in the middle of Trafalgar Square in the heart of London, less than 400 meters from Piccadilly Circus - Get directions
  • By bus: lines 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 all stop near Trafalgar Square.
  • By metro: Charing Cross stop (with the Northern and Bakerloo lines); Leicester Square stop (with the Northern and Piccadilly lines).

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

The collection housed inside the National Gallery in London belongs to the British population and was born thanks to the purchase in 1824 by the Government of the United Kingdom of 38 works of art that had belonged to a well-known banker in the country. Today the Gallery boasts more than two thousand works of art, afferent to different eras and different styles.

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