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National Gallery, London

Listed under Art Collections in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of National Gallery, London
  • Photo of National Gallery, London
  • Photo of National Gallery, London
  • Photo of National Gallery, London
Photo of National Gallery, London
Photo by flickr user Gaspa
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Some paintings are so familiar, used in pop art or advertising or on postcards, that people may think that there’s no need to make the effort to see the real thing. But they’re just plain wrong. Knowing what a painting looks like isn’t the same thing as having stood in front of a painting.

The National Gallery in London is home to a number of these familiar paintings, familiar all over the UK and the world. Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, George Seurat’s ‘Bathers at Asnieres’, Velazquez’s creamy ‘Rokeby Venus’, and Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’, and here against the dark red or green walls and shining wood floors they glow with light and depth and colour in a way they just don’t seem to be able to replicate on a postcard yet.

The old adage of ‘I don’t know a lot about art but I know what I like’ can be a bit overwhelming here. I like the Impressionists with their soft, muted colours and Turner with his churning seas and all the flesh pinks of the religious and portrait galleries. And I like the faces, caught in timeless expressions from all the way along the scale of human experience, and the abstract works, well some of them anyway. That’s the thing with a gallery like this one – because it’s free you can easily find yourself popping in to have a look around and each time you’ll find something new to stand in front of in awe.

If you’re planning a grand tour you can be just as floored by a single painting so you’ll have to plan your route or else accept that you’re a bit of a leaf in the wind at the mercy of your taste and the gallery layout. Some galleries are busier than others and people still seem to be drawn to the paintings they recognise, but there are lots of quiet corners where you can be alone with your finds.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

I like its content, have a lot of masterpieces of art

National Gallery

The National Gallery houses one of the world's most important collections of Western European painting. Dutch and Italian Renaissance collections form two major highlights but the scope is huge and there are masterpieces from every major school of art, from the Early Renaissance to the Post-Impressionists.

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