National Gallery, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 125 Reviews

Trafalgar Square, WC2 0 20 7747 2885

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    The National Gallery
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    National gallery.
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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Spending half a day at the National Gallery.

    by Regina1965 Updated Nov 24, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The National Gallery.
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    On a rainy day in London I went to visit the National Gallery, which is right by Trafalgar square. It is big and I spent 3 hours in there and could easily have spent 2 more hours in there.

    There are so many beautiful painting in here, from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, France and England. One section of the museum, the most crowded one, has paintings by Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrand, Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and the big masters. I happened to visit that the last of all, after spending 2,5 hours walking through endless galleries with beautiful paintings, I discovered that I had one more hall to visit - and by then I had become tired.

    So I went down-stairs to one of the entrances, a back entrance, but there are at least 4 entrances to the National Gallery. I sat down there to rest. Photos are forbidden in the Gallery, and the use of mobile phones. But seeing I was down-stairs where the cloak-rooms were and the exit, I made a phone call. Then I took 1 photo of the Information desk without a flash, not even imagining that it would not be allowed. But, no, a guard yelled at me and came running towards me telling me in an angry voice that photos are forbidden. I hate this, I am not the one to attract attention to myself and this put a damper on the rest of my visit. Everybody had been so friendly and the security guards were just sitting in the galleries talking to one another, and I felt welcome, and had been thinking about how different this National Gallery was rom the National Gallery in Canada. There one felt like a criminal as there were guards all over following your every step. I couldn´t wait to get out of there. And then this screwed up guard had to yell at me down-stairs by the entrance. There is no reason not to be allowed to take a photo of an Information desk. And inside the gallery I saw people take photos with their mobile phones. And in the National Portrait gallery people were even taking photos with their cameras with their flash on, and nobody said anything. I add the forbidden photo here, was this enough of a reason to be yelled at??

    But even though this had to happen I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the National Gallery and would say that it is a must visit while visiting London. Some of the paintings are absolutely breath-taking, I just sat there and couldn´t take my eyes of them. There is also a section of altar-pieces, fantastic work of art. On their web-site one can have a look at many of the paintings.

    Entrance fee: free (but adviced donation is GBP 4)

    Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 every day, Fridays: 10:00-21:00.

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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    National Art Gallery

    by solopes Updated Sep 25, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    London - United Kingdom

    I visited the National Art Gallery in 1971. After that, with the kids, some other museums seem preferable.

    However, I remember the quality of the collection, and specially, my friend Joõo with an open mouth in front of a Giotto's painting, from the 14th century.

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  • didier06's Profile Photo

    National gallery

    by didier06 Written Mar 18, 2012
    The national Gallery

    The national gallery located on Trafalgar square,is home of one of the world's greatest collection of european paintings.
    English ,spanish, dutch, french, italian, german or flemish schools, the collection contains over 2300 paintings.
    This is where you can admire The sunflowers (v.VAN GOGH), The fighting temeraire (TURNER),Venus and Mars (BOTTICELLI) and many more.

    Entrance:free (donation)

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    NEW: Leonardo da Vinci in Sainsbury Wing.

    by breughel Updated Nov 13, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From 9 November 2011 to 5 February 2012 there is a special exhibition: " Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan".

    According to the National Gallery: "Painter at the Court of Milan’ is the most complete display of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings ever held. This unprecedented exhibition – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – brings together sensational international loans never before seen in the UK."

    For me the best of the about 90 works (paintings, designs, sketches and studies) is the "Lady with an Ermine" which unfortunately I could not see in Krakow.
    I prefer this portrait to "La Joconde - Mona Lisa" which remains in Paris.

    Open daily 10am–6pm (last admission 5pm)
    Late nights including Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm (last admission 9pm)
    Sundays until 7pm (last admission 6pm)

    Tickets: Timed-ticket entry
    Full price £16.00
    Senior (60+)/concession £14.00
    Students/Job seekers/12-18s £8.00

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Crowds but no queues.

    by breughel Updated Jun 6, 2011

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    National Gallery - Portico and Getty entrances.
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    Since several decades this museum is my favoured paint museum in Europe not only for the richness and variety of its collections, which I have described here department by department, but for the very practical fact that there are no queues as the entry is free, as there is no security control of bags (the Londoners are more optimistic than the Parisians who check all bags), and there are three entrances. In the middle you have the Portico entrance, to the right the Getty entrance and on the left the Sainsbury Wing entrance. So no problem with in and out flux.

    My first visit here was in 1960 and it seemed to me that in a half century the number of visitors must have increased by a hundredfold. The National gallery is nearly as crowded as the British museum.

    However, there are two things that upset me in this museum:
    1° The curators have still not made the distinction between Dutch painters and Flemish painters, they stick to the term "Netherlandish" when since 1902 (Ref. my tip on Brussels, Royal Museum of Fine Arts) the term Flemish Primitives is used.
    2° The visitors who can not just look at a painting but have to show with their finger, or the museum plan, some details to the people around them. They stress the museum guards as well as me.

    From a practical point of view I must say that I rather like the "National café" at Level 0, just right of the Getry entrance. This self-service café is not bad and at reasonable prices.
    What surprised me is that there was not a single British beer to go with my sandwich. Only a German beer or an American one made in Czechia. Should I complain to the Queen?

    Opening hours: daily 10 - 18 h, Fridays until 21 h. Free.
    Photos not allowed. (Why is a question asked by many visitors used to take photos at the British Museum, Le Louvre or Orsay).

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  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    The National Gallery

    by spidermiss Updated Apr 17, 2011

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    The National Gallery
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    I've been to The National Gallery a number of time before and was surprised that the gallery now charges for the plan (1 GBP each) whereas at other places they're free of charge.

    The gallery has two levels divided into the following sections: Paintings 1250to1500; Paintings 1500to1600; Paintings 1600to1700; Paintings 1700to1900 and temporary exhibitions.

    The Highlights of the collection at The National Gallery include: Samson and Delilah (Rubens), The Supper at Emmaus(Caravaggio), 'The Arnolfini Portrait' (Van Eyck), Sunflowers (Van Gogh) and Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)(Cezanne).

    Fortunately the galleries are sign posted and, on my last vist (August 2010) I was able to reach the 1800-1900 Century galleries and looked at paintings by Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Pissario, Monet and Degas. There are other galleri,es covering paintings from different centuries.

    I appreciated the paintings more after studying some of the artists from my humanities courses.

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  • alyf1961's Profile Photo

    NATIONAL GALLERY

    by alyf1961 Updated Mar 10, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    THE NATIONAL GALLERY

    In 1831 Parliament decided to build a National gallery in Trafalgar square. William Wilkins designed the building and it was opened in 1839. The original building wasn't as large as it is today, it was added to in 1876 and 1907. In 1985 Lord Sainsbury and his brothers financed a new wing that was opened in 1991.
    The gallery holds over 2,300 works of art. Most of the worlds famous artists are represented.

    The gallery is set in sections, Years 1250-1500, 1500-1600, 1600-1700 and 1700-1900.
    There are also many exhibitions on throughout the year (some of these are chargable].

    The gallery is free but a donation is appreciated.

    OPENING HOURS
    DAILY 10am - 6pm
    FRIDAY UNTIL 9pm

    There is a restaurant an expresso bar and a cafe within the gallery.

    There are 3 shops selling postcards, T-shirts, stationery and jewellery.

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  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    National Gallery

    by Britannia2 Updated Feb 27, 2011

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    National  Gallery

    There is so much information on this gallery on VT that it does not make sense to rewrite it here. The building is wonderful and this is England at its best when it comes to display . Only four Turners ( England's greatest painter in my opinion) but lots and lots and lots of classic Italian works which are impressive but much of it is rather heavy going.
    My other view is that this is on many peoples to do list but judging by the speed many got round the galleries I think it was a case of telling the folks back home (whether in England or overseas) that "we saw the National Gallery in London".

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  • volarevolare's Profile Photo

    Visit the Museums

    by volarevolare Updated Feb 24, 2011

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    An amazing treasure trove.

    There are plenty of museums and galleries in London and I'm just amazed by the sheer amount of Art there is... actually, envious...
    It reminds me so much of Washington D.C. and New York...

    I was at the National Gallery of Art and though I didn't really get the chance to explore the museum and it's treasures, I did manage to get a few Art books on Cezanne, Seurat and Manet for a friend.

    Even though I've bought them for him, I'd be borrowing them pretty soon to browse through and learn about Impressionism... :) that's after I finish reading Umberto Eco's "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana"...

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  • kris-t's Profile Photo

    National Gallery

    by kris-t Updated Jan 31, 2011

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    National Gallery
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    an art gallery in London, located on the north side of Trafalgar Square. It houses Western European paintings from 1250 to 1900 from the national art collection of Great Britain. The collection of 2,300 paintings belongs to the British public, and entry to the main collection is free, though there are charges for entry to special exhibitions.

    Despite having being founded without an existing royal collection on which to build, and in a building with severe constraints on size, the National Gallery has grown to be a collection of international renown. It was shaped mainly by its early directors, including Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, and by private donations, which comprise two thirds of the collection. The resulting collection is small in size, but with a wide scope and paintings of exceptionally high quality. All of the major developments in the mainstream of Western painting are represented, often by masterpieces.
    The building, begun by William Wilkins, has undergone several extensions, most notably by E. M. Barry and Robert Venturi. The current director is Charles Saumarez Smith.

    Opening hours: Daily 10am–6pm, Fridays 10am–9pm

    National Gallery has received a highly commended award in the national Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards as one of the top accessible attractions in the UK in the Best Free Venue category.

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    National Gallery

    by leffe3 Updated Nov 26, 2010

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    With one of the best collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 19th century in the world, the National Gallery is a must. What's more, it's free.

    The collections (and building) are extensive - that free entrance enables you to come and go as you please. My advice is to a do a bit at a time rather than try to 'do' it all in one go.

    The genesis of the National Gallery is the result of landscape artist and art collector Sir George Beaumont offering his personal collection to the nation under condition a suitable home could be found for them. A few other paintings from the collection of banker John Julius Angerstein had been purchased a few years earlier in 1824 – The Raising of Lazarus by Sebastiano del Piombo has the accession number NG1.

    The move to create a national gallery had been around for 50 years or so when the descendants of Sir Hugh Walpole put his collection up for sale. There were moves to raise the money to keep the collection in the UK, but it failed and the entire collection was purchased by Catherine the Great and is now found in the Hermitage, St Petersburg.

    Angerstein's collection was put on show at his former townhouse, 100 Pall Mall, where Beaumont's gift was added in 1826. Due to subsidence, the collection moved to 105 Pall Mall before (much to the relief of critics who felt the townhouses to be a dingy embarassment for a national collection) moving to the present site in Trafalgar Square.

    The restrictions of the building have been vocalised since :) Extensions, renovations, new wings have been added since, the move of the British collection of artists to the Tate in 1897 have helped, and whilst the collection is not necessarily one of the largest (compare it to the Louvre!), it has many highlights.

    And the cafe (in the basement) is not at all bad.

    Opening times: Saturday-Thursday, 10am-6pm: Friday 10am-9pm
    Closed 24-26 December and 1 January,

    Admission free except for some major exhibitions.

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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    National Gallery

    by pieter_jan_v Written Oct 18, 2010
    National Gallery - London

    The National Gallery is a must for lovers of paintings.

    Next to the paintings the museum offers:
    -Family workshops
    -Audio tours
    -Cinema
    -Live music performances
    -Events
    -Museum shop
    -Bar and restaurant

    Opening hours: Daily
    Mo-Th: 10AM - 6PM
    Fr: 10AM - 9PM
    Sa-Su: 10AM - 6PM

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Great art in a great location

    by toonsarah Updated Oct 2, 2010

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    The National Gallery

    The National Gallery is rightly high on the “must see” list of many visitors to London, even those who don’t regularly visit art galleries. It’s a national treasure (literally!) and a London institution. Its prime location overlooking Trafalgar Square means that even those visitors who don’t step inside the building are likely to at least climb its steps for the classic view of the square and Whitehall beyond. But if you have the time and the inclination to visit you will be rewarded by one of the very best art collections in the world. As the gallery’s website proclaims, “you can see over 2,300 masterpieces for free”.

    Among the most famous of the paintings on display are:
    Les Grandes Baigneuses by Paul Cézanne
    Bathers at Asnières by Georges Seurat
    Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
    The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger
    The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
    The Fighting Temeraire by J M W Turner
    The Hay Wain by John Constable
    The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci

    But there are so many more, and whatever your taste you are almost bound to find something that you like – although if you only like modern art this isn’t the place for you as the collection only goes up to the early part of the 20th century (visit the Tate Modern for later works). Also, the collection focuses on Western European painting only, but within that remit it has what is probably the best collection in the world. You could spend a day here and still come away dissatisfied at all you have missed.

    If you feel that you don’t know enough about art to really appreciate the collection, there are plenty of educational activities on offer. These include regular free one hour taster tours for first-time visitors, brief (10 minute) talks on an individual painting (also free, Mondays – Fridays at 4.00 pm), free half-hour lunchtime talks (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 1.00 pm) and occasional courses and study days, for which a charge is usually made. Of course these events are all in English but there are also guided tours and talks in the most popular foreign languages too – check the website for details (under International Visitors).

    This is also a good place for lunch or a coffee break. The National Dining Rooms in the new Sainsbury Wing of the building (on your left as face it from Trafalgar Square) has good British cuisine and tempting afternoon teas, as well as a good selection of coffees and pastries for when you need a break from exploring the collection.

    The Gallery is open daily 10.00 am – 6.00 pm, and on Fridays until 9.00 pm (closed 24th-26th December and 1st January).

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  • mirchica's Profile Photo

    National Gallery

    by mirchica Written Jun 27, 2010

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    National Gallery, built in 1856, is probably the most famous gallery in the world where could be seen more than 160 000 portraits since 16 century till now. I’m not that good in art and just walked through some halls but artists say that it’s kind of a dream for them.

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  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo

    Bask in the Works of the Great Masters

    by ViajesdelMundo Written Jun 5, 2010

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    Real Life; Almost Like a Painting
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    I love great art and now living where I do (8 miles outside of a small Mexican fishing village), I find that when I travel I am hungary for museums and great works of art!! the National Gallery in London is one of my favorites and this trip I was fortunate to have a whole day to spend browsing and even treated myself to a little lunch and was delighted to find they had a great selection of gourmet sandwiches, etc., and pie and pastry bar!!

    Thoroughly into my lunch and people watching and just over to my left, against the dark wood wall were 3 delightful very 'English'-looking people, the two women obviously sisters and possibly the gentlemen was their brother or one's husband, but to me they looked like an old Enligsh painting. I hesitated getting my camera focused, as I didn't want to be obvious, so I missed the best shot, but I think you will see what I mean from looking at the photo I did get,(he's playing with his teabag) posted here. (I hoped I wasn't being rude, but couldn't help myself from taking their photo.)

    One thing I love about the National Gallery is that you can order calendars on-line, made up of various paintings which you choose yourself from their catalogue! I have done this a couple times and you can have them sent anywhere---they make wonderful, thoughtful special Christmas or birthday presents.

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