Category: National Gallery

  PREVIOUS: RUBENS – HET STEEN Philip IV of Spain in Brown and Silver: Diego Velázquez: about 1631-2 This splendid figure, resplendent in a formal costume embroidered with silver thread, is Philip IV of Spain – ruler of an empire that, even though it was in decline, spanned the globe; it was the first empire of […]
PREVIOUS: REMBRANDT – THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY Seaport with the embarkation of St Ursula: Claude: 1641  We’re looking at an imaginary landscape, at a place that doesn’t exist. Some of the buildings are based on real buildings, but they’re being used here almost like set decoration, to provide a perfect composition. The sun is just rising […]
PREVIOUS: LEONARDO DA VINCI – THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS Raphael: Portrait of Pope Julius II: 1511 Here we’re looking at Pope Julius seated in a chair that is decorated with carvings of acorns. The painting has only three main colours – red, green and white – and a very plain background that puts all […]
PREVIOUS: UCELLO – THE BATTLE OF SAN ROMANO Jan van Eyck: The Arnolfini Portrait: 1434 While Uccello was experimenting with perspective in Italy, over in the Netherlands Van Eyck was surpassing him. We’re looking into a room, we can see the depth of it, with the lines of the floorboards leading us into the picture. […]
PREVIOUS: MARGARITO D’AREZZO – THE VIRGIN AND CHILD  The Wilton Diptych: about 1395-1399 The previous picture was one of the earliest signed works in the National Gallery, in contrast the artist here is unknown – although we can see that they were someone of immense talent and craftsmanship. Look at the fine patterns in the […]
Caravaggio: The Supper at Emmaus: 1601 We’re looking at the painting of a scene described in the gospel of St Luke. The story is that two apostles were travelling from Jerusalem when they encountered a stranger on the road. It was the morning of the third day after Christ’s crucifixion and it had been discovered […]
An Autumn Landscape with a view of Het Steen in the Morning:  Peter Paul Rubens: 1636 When we look at this picture we can tell it’s going to be a beautiful day. The sun is rising, it’s late summer/early autumn and the land is at its most productive. This is a view of the area […]
PREVIOUS: BOTTICELLI, VENUS AND MARS Leonardo da Vinci: The Virgin of the Rocks: Late 1400s, early 1500s There’s some imprecision about the date, which I’ll come to shortly. We’re looking at a painting by one of the most celebrated of Renaissance artists – Leonardo da Vinci. He was a sculptor, inventor, engineer, anatomist, and the painter of […]
PREVIOUS: HOLBEIN – THE AMBASSADORS Titian: Bacchus and Ariadne:1520-23 After the static pictures we’ve just seen, this one explodes with life, as the god Bacchus leaps from his chariot to accost Ariadne, the mortal woman he has just seen and just fallen in love with. The story comes from mythology, particularly their retelling by Roman poets […]
PREVIOUS: THE WILTON DIPTYCH Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano: About 1438-40  We are looking at a battle scene – although quite a bloodless one. A large army of knights led by a man on a white horse, are coming to blows with a knight on the right hand side of the picture – although we […]
Get the Newsletter

Follow me on Twitter