The National Gallery is an iconic art museum in London. The National Gallery is home to a grand total of over 2,300 paintings. If you’re from London or just stopping by, here is everything you need to know about the National Gallery before you visit.
The National Gallery London
As mentioned, the National Gallery is home to over 2,300 paintings, and these range from mid-13th century artwork to more recent art from the 20th century. The British government acknowledge the ownership of the artwork and, therefore, the artist gallery is free to visit as the work is under public ownership. They acquired the art from purchasing the original 38 paintings to open the museum in 1824. Then the other paintings were bought or donated.
Art at The National Gallery
The National Gallery is one of the most-visiting art museums worldwide. In fact, even in the pandemic where residents were encouraged to stay at home, the museum was the eighth most popular globally by their footfall.
It is popular largely due to being the most extensive and holistic representation of European artwork with collections of work including Italian Renaissance, French Impressionism and Medieval Europe. The collection is all paintings from historical Western Europe. As a keen artist, you may know some of the works in the National Gallery by names, such as the van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
You can browse some of the collection on the National Gallery’s website, but of course, nothing compares to dedicating a few hours to see the work in person and immersing yourself in the museum. The museum is split into 13th to 15th century, 16th century, 17th century and 18th to early 20th century. For work completely in the mid to late 20th century, you may wish to visit the Tate Gallery as well.
Where is the London National Gallery?
In London, the National Gallery can be found in the city centre. The National art Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster. It is right by the national rail and the underground station Charing Cross, making it super easy to find. You may also wish to take a stroll around the Square after visiting the gallery and take in the statues and local sights.
Galleries That are Often Confused With The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square
The Tate Gallery
The Tate is another British national gallery that is often confused with the National Gallery. The Tate Gallery was established under the National Gallery Trustees in 1897 as a home for more recent British art only. However, as of 1954, the Tate Gallery is independent and now exclusively holds 20th-century art.
The National Portrait Gallery
Don’t get the National Gallery confused with The National Portrait Gallery in the United States. This museum is home to a collection of incredible artwork including work from David Bailey, one of the photographers that are represented by The Imitate Modern.
The National Gallery of Art
The British National Gallery is also not the same as the American National Gallery of art. So even though the names may be deceiving, your sat nav may have a difficult time suggesting a route for you to find the National Gallery if you search for the gallery in the US.
The National Gallery FAQ
Do you need to book to go to the National Gallery?
You do not need to book a ticket for the museum. Unlike some of the other free museums in London, such as The Science Museum in South Kensington, you can simply turn up and spend as long as you like viewing the paintings.
How much does it cost to go to the National Gallery in London?
Nothing! The National Gallery is completely free to enter. Therefore, making it a great museum to go to when you have an hour or so spare in London as you don’t need to spend all day at the museum to make it worth your while. In fact, we would encourage you to dip in and out of the museum to allow yourself to take your time and view the paintings at a leisurely pace.
How long do you need to go around the entire museum?
Of course, the length of time you take to view the paintings in the National Gallery may depend on your schedule and how long you intend to spend looking at each artwork. Generally, you can expect a single visit to take 3-4 hours. This is enough that you could spend the whole morning or afternoon at the gallery.
However, as mentioned, the museum is free, so you may prefer to make two or three trips over the course of a year to view the museum in 1-2 hour time slots depending on how long you can dedicate to each visit.
Can you take pictures in the Gallery?
You are allowed to take photos for your own memories. However, you aren’t allowed to photograph the artwork for commercial reasons.
Other Art Galleries London is Home to
The Imitate Modern is another one of the lesser-known but equally as impressive National art galleries. At Imitate Modern, we specialise in representing contemporary artists as a leading fine art gallery in London. Uncover more about our gallery, or take a look at the artist’s work for sale so you can start curating your very own personalised gallery at home.
Our Art shop is continually evolving to showcase the latest and greatest work in the art world. We work tirelessly to ensure you get a first-class experience when you book to view the work in person or communicate with our knowledgeable team to discuss the piece that has caught your eye.