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The National Gallery in London

  • 30 highlight paintings
  • The National Gallery houses one of the finest collections of Western European paintings in the world. This selection of 30 highlights includes some of the Gallery's best-loved works.
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  • МБОУ СОШ №4 г.Краснознаменска
  • ТРЕТЬЯКОВА ИРИНА СЕРГЕЕВНА

The Arnolfini Portrait 1434, Jan van Eyck

  • This work is a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, but is not intended as a record of their wedding. His wife is not pregnant, as is often thought, but holding up her full-skirted dress in the contemporary fashion. Arnolfini was a member of a merchant family from Lucca living in Bruges. The couple are shown in a well-appointed interior. The ornate Latin signature translates as 'Jan van Eyck was here 1434'. The similarity to modern graffiti is not accidental. Van Eyck often inscribed his pictures in a witty way. The mirror reflects two figures in the doorway. One may be the painter himself. Arnolfini raises his right hand as he faces them, perhaps as a greeting. Van Eyck was intensely interested in the effects of light: oil paint allowed him to depict it with great subtlety in this picture, notably on the gleaming brass chandelier.

Venus and Mars about 1485, Sandro Botticelli

  • Mars, God of War, was one of the lovers of Venus, Goddess of Love. Here Mars is asleep and unarmed, while Venus is awake and alert. The meaning of the picture is that love conquers war, or love conquers all. This work was probably a piece of bedroom furniture, perhaps a bedhead or piece of wainscoting, most probably the 'spalliera' or backboard from a chest or day bed. The wasps ('vespe' in Italian) at the top right suggest a link with the Vespucci family, though they may be no more than a symbol of the stings of love. A lost Classical painting of the marriage of Alexander and Roxana was described by the 2nd-century Greek writer, Lucian. It showed cupids playing with Alexander's spear and armour. Botticelli's satyrs may refer to this. Mars is sleeping the 'little death' which comes after making love, and not even a trumpet in his ear will wake him. The little satyrs have stolen his lance - a joke to show that he is now disarmed.

The Virgin of the Rocks about 1491 - 1508, Leonardo da Vinci

  • An elaborate sculpted altar was commissioned by the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception for their oratory in San Francesco in 1480. A new contract was drawn up in 1483 with Leonardo and the de Predis brothers: a central panel was to be painted by Leonardo alone, and there were to be two side panels showing angels singing and playing musical instruments. Two paintings of angels (An Angel in Green with a Vielle and An Angel in Red with a Lute) by artists influenced by Leonardo, are undoubtedly those for the altarpiece. 'The Virgin of the Rocks' seems not to refer to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, but depicts the type of subject that Leonardo might have painted in his native Florence where legends concerning the young Saint John the Baptist were popular. Execution of the commission was protracted. Leonardo may only have put the finishing touches to it in 1508. The finished work was then sent to France, (now Paris, Louvre). Leonardo painted a replacement for San Francesco that was probably completed with some help from his studio in 1508, and which is now in the National Gallery Collection.

The Madonna of the Pinks ('La Madonna dei Garofani') about 1506-7, Raphael

  • This small devotional picture was painted for Christian contemplation; its original owner would have held the painting in his or her hand. It shows the Virgin and Child seated in a bedchamber (the bed-curtain is looped behind the Virgin's head) with a view of a sunny landscape seen through a window. They hand flowers between them - pinks which are symbols of marriage - depicting the Virgin Mary as not only the Mother but the Bride of Christ. Raphael transforms this familiar subject into something entirely new. The mother and son are no longer posed stiffly and formally as in paintings by earlier artists, but now display all the tender emotions one might expect between a young mother and her child. This painting is freely based on a famous composition by Leonardo da Vinci (the 'Benois Madonna' in the Hermitage, St Petersburg). Raphael painted the panel shortly before leaving Florence for Rome. When it was in the Camuccini Collection in Italy it was celebrated, but for more than a century it was thought to be only a copy.

The Ambassadors 1533, Hans Holbein the Younger

  • This picture memorialises two wealthy, educated and powerful young men. On the left is Jean de Dinteville, aged 29, French ambassador to England in 1533. To the right stands his friend, Georges de Selve, aged 25, bishop of Lavaur, who acted on several occasions as ambassador to the Emperor, the Venetian Republic and the Holy See. The picture is in a tradition showing learned men with books and instruments. The objects on the upper shelf include a celestial globe, a portable sundial and various other instruments used for understanding the heavens and measuring time. Among the objects on the lower shelf is a lute, a case of flutes, a hymn book, a book of arithmetic and a terrestrial globe.
  • Certain details could be interpreted as references to contemporary religious divisions. The broken lute string, for example, may signify religious discord, while the Lutheran hymn book may be a plea for Christian harmony. In the foreground is the distorted image of a skull, a symbol of mortality. When seen from a point to the right of the picture the distortion is corrected.

The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus') 1647-51, Diego Velázquez

  • This is the only surviving example of a female nude by Velázquez. The subject was rare in Spain because it met with the disapproval of the Church. Venus, the goddess of Love, was the most beautiful of the goddesses, and was regarded as a personification of female beauty. She is shown here with her son Cupid, who holds up a mirror for her to look both at herself and at the viewer. 'The Rokeby Venus' is first recorded in June 1651 in the collection of the Marqués del Carpio, son of the First Minister of Spain. It was probably made for the Marqués and was presumably displayed privately, thus avoiding the censure of the Spanish Inquisition. In the Carpio collection, Velázquez's painting was paired with a 16th-century Venetian picture of a naked nymph in a landscape seen from the front. The painting is known as 'The Rokeby Venus' because it was in the Morritt Collection at Rokeby Hall in Yorkshire before its acquisition by the Gallery.

Samson and Delilah about 1609-10, Peter Paul Rubens

  • Samson, the Jewish hero, fell in love with Delilah. She was bribed by the Philistines, and discovered that his strength came from his hair which had never been cut. While he was asleep it was cut, Samson was drained of his strength and the Philistines were able to capture him. (Old Testament, Judges 16: 17-20). Rubens depicts a candlelit interior; the Philistines wait at the door, one of their number cuts Samson's hair, while an elderly woman provides extra light. In a niche behind is a statue of the goddess of love, Venus, with Cupid - a reference to the cause of Samson's fate. This painting was commissioned by Nicolaas Rockox, alderman of Antwerp, for his town house in 1609-10. It shows the influence of the antique, as well as Michelangelo and Caravaggio. There is a preparatory drawing (private collection, Amsterdam) and a modello (Cincinnati Museum of Art).

Bacchus and Ariadne 1520-3, Titian

  • Bacchus, god of wine, emerges with his followers from the landscape to the right. Falling in love with Ariadne on sight, he leaps from his chariot, drawn by two cheetahs, towards her. Ariadne had been abandoned on the Greek island of Naxos by Theseus, whose ship is shown in the distance. The picture shows her initial fear of Bacchus, but he raised her to heaven and turned her into a constellation, represented by the stars above her head. The programme for the series was probably devised by a humanist scholar in the service of Alfonso d'Este. The subject of Bacchus and Ariadne is derived from the classical authors Ovid and Catullus. The painting is one of a famous series by Bellini, Titian and the Ferrarese artist Dosso Dossi, commissioned for the Camerino d'Alabastro, (Alabaster Room) in the Ducal Palace, Ferrara, by Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, who in around 1510 tried to include Michelangelo and Raphael among the contributors. Titian's painting was in fact a substitute for one with a similar subject which the Duke had commissioned from Raphael. Bellini's 'Feast of the Gods' for this room is dated 1514, and the three works by Titian were painted 1518-25.

A Young Woman standing at a Virginal about 1670-2, Johannes Vermeer

  • The richly dressed lady playing a virginal stands in a wealthy Delft home with paintings on the wall, a marble-tiled floor, and a skirting of locally produced Delft blue and white tiles. The two paintings on the wall behind her cannot be identified with certainty, but the small landscape on the left is probably either by Jan Wijnants or Allart van Everdingen. The second painting, attributed to Caesar van Everdingen, Allart's brother, shows the motif of Cupid holding a card. This figure derives from a contemporary emblem. It may either refer to the idea of faithfulness to one lover or, in conjunction with the virginal, to the traditional association of music and love. As with most of Vermeer's work, the painting is undocumented. It is dated on stylistic grounds and on the evidence of the costume. This work can be related to another Vermeer in the collection, A Young Woman seated at a Virginal, from the same period.

Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula 1641, Claude

  • According to legend Saint Ursula was a British princess who made a pilgrimage to Rome with 11,000 virgin companions. She returned with them to Cologne, where they were all martyred. St Ursula is shown here, in yellow and holding a flag with her emblem, watching her companions embark on the return voyage. The girls carry bows and arrows, the instruments of their martyrdom. The building at the left is based on the Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. The canvas was painted in 1641 for Fausto Poli, who was made a cardinal by Pope Urban VIII in 1643. A comparison of this picture with Claude's 'Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba', also in the National Gallery, illustrates Claude's evolution of the theme of the seaport. In the latter picture, there is a move towards greater simplicity and unity of design and the left-right symmetry becomes more pronounced.

Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) about 1894-1905, Paul Cezanne

  • Cezanne painted bathers from the 1870s onwards, including numerous compositions of male and female bathers, singly or in groups. Late in life, he painted three large-scale female bather groups. In addition to the National Gallery's painting, they are now in the Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He seems to have been at work on all three simultaneously at the time of his death.
  • In such works, Cezanne was reinterpreting a long tradition of paintings with nude figures in the landscape by artists such as Titian and Poussin. While the subjects of their works were taken from classical myths, Cezanne did not use direct literary sources. Instead, his central theme was the harmony of the figures with the landscape expressed through solid forms, strict architectonic structure, and the earth tones of the bodies. When exhibited in 1907, this painting became an inspiration for the nascent Cubist movement; both Picasso and Matisse took a strong interest in it.

Bathers at La Grenouillere 1869, Claude-Oscar Monet

  • This painting depicts a popular boating and bathing establishment with an adjacent floating cafe, on the Seine near Bougival to the west of Paris. In the summer of 1869 Monet was living near La Grenouillere with his mistress, Camille, and their son. Working alongside Renoir, he painted sketches of the scene in a very fresh and direct manner, possibly in preparation for a slightly larger canvas, now lost.
  • The exceptionally free handling of Monet's painting may in part be due to the canvas being a sketch for what was to be a more ambitious composition painted back in the studio. He uses broad areas of colour to indicate the boats moored in the shadows, while dots in the lighted water in the background represent a party of bathers in the river.

Bathers at Asnieres 1884, Georges Seurat

  • Asnieres is an industrial suburb west of Paris on the River Seine. The present work shows a group of young workmen taking their leisure by the river.
  • This was the first of Seurat's large-scale compositions. He drew conte crayon studies for individual figures using live models, and made small oil sketches on site which he used to help design the composition and record effects of light and atmosphere. Some 14 oil sketches and 10 drawings survive. The final composition, painted in the studio, combines information from both.
  • While the painting was not executed using Seurat's pointillist technique, which he had not yet invented, the artist later reworked areas of this picture using dots of contrasting colour to create a vibrant, luminous effect. For example, dots of orange and blue were added to the boy's hat.
  • The simplicity of the forms and the use of regular shapes clearly defined by light recalls paintings by the Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca. In his use of figures seen in profile, Seurat may also have been influenced by ancient Egyptian art.

Doge Leonardo Loredan 1501-2, Giovanni Bellini

  • Leonardo Loredan was the Doge of Venice from 1501-21. He is shown here wearing his robes of state for this formal portrait. The hat and ornate buttons are part of the official wardrobe. The sitter can be identified as Doge Loredan by comparing his features with portrait medals of him. The shape of the hat comes from the hood of a doublet. It is called a 'corno' and was worn over a linen cap.
  • Venice had a tradition of painting formal portraits of its rulers dressed in state robes. This work is painted in the style of the sculpted portrait busts popular at the time. These were often inspired by Roman sculpture. Bellini signed his name in its Latin form on the cartellino, or 'small paper', on the parapet. He was famous for his portraiture and helped make this art form especially popular in Venice.

Equestrian Portrait of Charles I about 1637-8, Anthony van Dyck

  • In 1625, King Charles I (1600 - 1649) succeeded his father James I as king of Great Britain and Ireland. Van Dyck became his court painter in 1632, and created images of him which expressed the king's belief in his divine right to govern.
  • This portrait probably dates from the later years of Van Dyck's English period, about 1637, not long before the outbreak of the Civil War which led to the king's execution in 1649.
  • The Gallery's picture shows Charles I wearing the medallion of a Garter Sovereign, riding as if at the head of his knights. He is dressed in armour and holding a commander's baton. The magnificent horse, and the subdued but rich colours of the saddlecloth, landscape and the page holding the helmet complement the elegance of the rider.

Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame 1763-4, Francois-Hubert Drouais

  • The painting shows the one-time mistress of Louis XV in the last year of her life. Born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson in 1721, she married in 1741 and became royal mistress and Marquise de Pompadour four years later. She was a patron of the arts and letters and a leader of fashion who exercised considerable influence on the public policy of France.
  • The canvas is signed and dated on the work-table as begun in April 1763. The head, painted on a rectangle of canvas inserted into the painting, was presumably taken from life, and the rest of the picture completed in May 1764, the month after the death of Madame de Pompadour. Drouais's painting is the last of numerous portraits of the sitter by some of the best-known painters of the day, including Boucher and Carle van Loo.

Madame Moitessier 1856, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

  • Marie-Clotilde-Ines de Foucauld was born in 1821 and married Sigisbert Moitessier, a wealthy banker, in 1842. The portrait is influenced by the art of antiquity and the Renaissance. The pose, with the hand touching the cheek, is derived from an ancient Roman fresco of a goddess, from Herculaneum. This may suggest that for Ingres Madam Moitessier represented the ideal of classical beauty. The National Gallery's 'Portrait of a Lady' by Titian may have inspired him to add the profile in the mirror.
  • Ingres believed that portraiture was a less elevated art form than history painting. When first asked by Moitessier in 1844 to paint his wife, Ingres refused. On meeting her he was struck by her beauty and agreed. The picture was left unfinished and after seven years the sitter complained. In 1851, Ingres painted a standing portrait (National Gallery of Art, Washington) before returning to the seated portrait which he finally completed in 1856. The original intention had been to include the sitter's daughter Catherine, but she had grown up by the time Ingres came to complete the portrait.

Mr and Mrs Andrews about 1750, Thomas Gainsborough

  • This portrait is the masterpiece of Gainsborough's early years. It was painted after his return home from London to Suffolk in 1748, soon after the marriage of Robert Andrews of the Auberies and Frances Carter of Ballingdon House, near Sudbury, in November of that year.
  • The landscape evokes Robert Andrews's estate, to which his marriage added property. He has a gun under his arm, while his wife sits on an elaborate Rococo-style wooden bench. The painting of Mrs Andrews's lap is unfinished. The space may have been reserved for a child for Mrs Andrews to hold.
  • The painting follows the fashionable convention of the conversation piece, a (usually) small-scale portrait showing two or more people, often out of doors. The emphasis on the landscape here allows Gainsborough to display his skills as a painter of convincingly changing weather and naturalistic scenery, still a novelty at this time.

Self Portrait at the Age of 34 1640, Rembrandt

  • This painting is closely related to a self portrait etching made by Rembrandt in the previous year, 1639. In both the print and the painting the composition is influenced by Raphael's 'Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione' (Paris, Louvre), by Titian's 'A Man with a Quilted Sleeve' in the National Gallery and by Albrecht Durer's 'Self Portrait' of 1498 (Madrid, Prado).
  • This portrait shows Rembrandt at the height of his career, presenting himself in a self-assured pose wearing an elaborate costume in the fashion of the 16th century. It seems as if Rembrandt refers deliberately to his famous predecessors in this portrait, and thus places himself in the tradition of great 'Old Masters'. The word 'conterfeycel' (more properly conterfeytsel) is an archaic Dutch term for portrait.

Sunflowers 1888, Vincent van Gogh

  • This is one of four paintings of sunflowers dating from August and September 1888. Van Gogh intended to decorate Gauguin's room with these paintings in the so-called Yellow House that he rented in Arles in the South of France. He and Gauguin worked there together between October and December 1888.
  • Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in August 1888, 'I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I'm at is the painting of some sunflowers. If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now on the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 flowers ... it gives a singular effect.'
  • The dying flowers are built up with thick brushstrokes (impasto). The impasto evokes the texture of the seed-heads. Van Gogh produced a replica of this painting in January 1889, and perhaps another one later in the year. The various versions and replicas remain much debated among Van Gogh scholars.

The Adoration of the Kings 1510-15, Jan Gossaert

  • This large picture was probably painted as the altarpiece of the Lady Chapel at St Adrian's Grammont, near Brussels. The kneeling king, Caspar, is probably a portrait of Johannes de Broeder, who became abbot there in 1506 and may have commissioned the picture. Behind him stands Melchior with a retinue of attendants. Balthazar is on the left. Further back an onlooker, seen through a doorway, may be a self portrait of the artist.
  • The dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, descends to the infant Christ from the brilliant star in the sky, and angels approach from a great distance through a series of arches, giving the scene a spectacular sense of space and depth.
  • Gossaert used the bright colour and highly detailed oil painting technique of his 15th-century Netherlandish predecessors to sophisticated effect. The figures wear sumptuous costumes made of rich fabrics. The metalwork gifts presented by the kings are elaborate and reflect current designs.

The Baptism of Christ 1450s, Piero della Francesca

  • This panel was the central section of a polyptych. It may be one of Piero's earliest extant works. Side panels and a predella were painted in the early 1460s, by Matteo di Giovanni (active 1452; died 1495). The altarpiece was in the chapel of Saint John the Baptist in the Camaldolese abbey (now cathedral) of Piero's native town, Borgo Sansepolcro. The town, visible in the distance to the left of Christ, may be meant for Borgo Sansepolcro: the landscape certainly evokes the local area.
  • The dove symbolises the Holy Spirit. It is foreshortened to form a shape like the clouds. God the Father, the third member of the Trinity, may originally have been represented in a roundel above this panel.

The Battle of San Romano probably about 1438-40, Paolo Uccello

  • This brilliantly structured and colourful painting depicts part of the battle of San Romano that was fought between Florence and Siena in 1432. The central figure is Niccolo da Mauruzi da Tolentino on his white charger, the leader of the victorious Florentine forces, who is identifiable by the motif of 'Knot of Solomon' on his banner.
  • This panel is one of a set of three showing incidents from the same battle. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris, and the Uffizi, Florence. This painting and its two companion panels were commissioned by the Bartolini Salimbeni family in Florence sometime between 1435 and 1460: only the Uffizi panel is signed. Lorenzo de' Medici so coveted them that he had them forcibly removed to the Medici palace.
  • The pictures may originally have had arched tops designed to fit below Gothic vaults. They were made into rectangular panels in the 15th century, possibly by Uccello himself. Uccello was much preoccupied with one point linear perspective, seen here in the foreshortening of shapes and arrangement of broken lances.

The Entombment about 1500-1, Michelangelo

  • This unfinished painting shows Christ's body being carried to his tomb. There is some disagreement over the identity of the various figures represented. Saint John the Evangelist is usually shown in red with long hair, and may be the figure on the left carrying Christ. The others are probably Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathaea who gave up his tomb for Jesus. The kneeling figure to the left is probably Mary Magdalene and the woman at the back right is a Holy Woman (Mary Salome). The Virgin is prepared in outline in the bottom right corner.
  • The picture came from a collection in Rome, and is thought to be connected with payments made to Michelangelo between 1501 and 1502 relating to an altarpiece for Sant Agostino in Rome which he failed to deliver. This would explain the unfinished state of this painting.
  • 'The Entombment' is generally accepted to be by Michelangelo, since the treatment of the figures links closely with other works by him of this period. The kneeling figure on the left appears to meditate on something in her raised hand. A drawing by Michelangelo in the Louvre, Paris, is clearly a preparatory study for this figure and shows her with the crown of thorns and the nails with which Christ had been crucified.

The Fighting Temeraire 1839, Joseph Mallord William Turner

  • The 98-gun ship 'Temeraire' played a distinguished role in Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, after which she was known as the 'Fighting Temeraire'. The ship remained in service until 1838 when she was decommissioned and towed from Sheerness to Rotherhithe to be broken up.
  • The painting was thought to represent the decline of Britain's naval power. The 'Temeraire' is shown travelling east, away from the sunset, even though Rotherhithe is west of Sheerness, but Turner's main concern was to evoke a sense of loss, rather than to give an exact recording of the event. The spectacularly colourful setting of the sun draws a parallel with the passing of the old warship. By contrast the new steam-powered tug is smaller and more prosaic.
  • Turner was in his sixties when he painted 'The Fighting Temeraire'. It shows his mastery of painting techniques to suggest sea and sky. Paint laid on thickly is used to render the sun's rays striking the clouds. By contrast, the ship's rigging is meticulously painted.

The Hay Wain 1821, John Constable

  • Constable's painting is based on a site in Suffolk, near Flatford on the River Stour. The hay wain, a type of horse-drawn cart, stands in the water in the foreground. Across the meadow in the distance on the right, is a group of haymakers at work. The cottage shown on the left was rented by a farmer called Willy Lott and stands behind Flatford Mill. Today, the cottage and river path are still much as they were in Constable's time.
  • Although the painting evokes a Suffolk scene, it was created in the artist's studio in London. Constable first made a number of open-air sketches of parts of the scene. He then made a full-size preparatory sketch in oil to establish the composition.
  • The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821, the year it was painted, but failed to find a buyer. Yet when exhibited in France, with other paintings by Constable, the artist was awarded a Gold Medal

The Stonemason's Yard about 1725, Canalettok

  • ‘ The Stonemason's Yard' is considered one of Canaletto's finest works. The view is one across the Campo (small square) S. Vidal, looking over the Grand Canal to the church of S. Maria della Carita (Saint Mary of Charity). The square has been temporarily transformed into a workshop for repairing the nearby church (not seen in the picture) of S. Vidal. The blocks of Istrian stone were brought by water to the square. The 'campanile' (bell-tower) of the church of S. Maria della Carita on the far side of the Grand Canal collapsed in 1744, after the painting was made, and was not rebuilt.
  • The painting is not precisely datable but the bold composition, the densely applied paint and the careful execution of the figures are characteristic of Canaletto's works of the mid- to late 1720s. The informal nature of the scene and the unusual view across the Grand Canal suggest that it was made for a local Venetian patron rather than a foreign visitor to Venice.

The Supper at Emmaus 1601, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

  • Two of Jesus' disciples were walking to Emmaus after the Crucifixion when the resurrected Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but they did not recognise him. At supper that evening in Emmaus '... he took bread, and blessed it, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight' (Luke 24: 30-31). Christ is shown at the moment of blessing the bread and revealing his true identity to the two disciples.
  • Caravaggio's innovative treatment of the subject makes this one of his most powerful works. The depiction of Christ is unusual in that he is beardless and great emphasis is given to the still life on the table. The intensity of the emotions of Christ's disciples is conveyed by their gestures and expression. The viewer too is made to feel a participant in the event.
  • The picture was commissioned by the Roman nobleman Ciriaco Mattei in 1601. Caravaggio painted a second, more subdued version of 'The Supper at Emmaus' about five years after the Gallery's work.

The Wilton Diptych about 1395-9, English or French

  • The 'Wilton Diptych' was painted as a portable altarpiece for the private devotion of King Richard II, who ruled England from 1377 to 1399. The diptych is thought to have been made in the last five years of Richard's reign, although its artist remains unknown. It is called The Wilton Diptych because it came from Wilton House in Wiltshire, the seat of the Earls of Pembroke.
  • A diptych is a painting, carving or piece of metalwork on two panels, usually hinged like a book. The panels of the Wilton Diptych are made of North European oak, but have been transformed by immaculate painting and gilding, into a heavenly vision. On the inside, Richard II is presented by three saints to the Virgin and Child and a company of eleven angels. Nearest to Richard is his patron saint John the Baptist. Behind are Saint Edward the Confessor and Saint Edmund, earlier English kings who came to be venerated as saints.
  • The outside bears Richard's arms and his personal emblem of a white hart chained with a crown around its neck.

Whistlejacket about 1762, George Stubbs

  • The National Gallery houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries.
  • The National Gallery houses one of greatest collections of Western European painting in the world.
  • 30 highlight paintings
  • The National Gallery houses one of the finest collections of Western European paintings in the world. This selection of 30 highlights includes some of the Gallery's best-loved works.