The National Gallery in London is a world-renowned art museum that houses some of the finest artworks from the Western European tradition.
Since its establishment in 1824, this iconic museum has continued to be a major attraction for tourists and art lovers. With over 2,300 paintings on display, the National Gallery is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring European art.
History and Architecture
The National Gallery was founded in 1824 after the British government purchased a collection of 38 paintings from a wealthy banker named John Julius Angerstein.
At first, the collection was displayed in Angerstein’s home, but it soon outgrew the space and a new location was needed. The government then acquired a building in Trafalgar Square and commissioned a design by William Wilkins. Works on the gallery completed in 1838.
Over the years, the National Gallery has undergone several expansions and renovations to accommodate its growing collection.
In 1991, the Sainsbury Wing was added, which houses the museum’s collection of Renaissance art. The award-winning wing was designed by the architectural firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.
Collections and Exhibitions
The National Gallery’s collection includes works from the 13th to the 20th century, with a particular emphasis on Italian, Dutch, and British art.
Some of the most famous paintings on display include Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks,” and J.M.W. Turner’s “The Fighting Temeraire.”
In addition to its permanent collection, the National Gallery also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase works from other museums and private collections.
The National Gallery is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, with extended hours on Fridays. Admission to the museum is free, although some exhibitions may require an additional fee.
Audio guides and guided tours are available for an extra charge. There are also a variety of events and workshops for adults and children throughout the year.
In addition to the several restaurants and cafes on-site, the gallery has a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, postcards, and other souvenirs. The National Gallery is also wheelchair accessible, with lifts and ramps throughout the building.
How to get there
The most convenient way to get to the National Gallery is by using public transport. The museum is a short walk away from several tube stations, including Charing Cross, Leicester Square, and Embankment.
These stations are served by the Bakerloo, Northern, and District lines, making it very easy to reach the museum from all over London.