The National Gallery
The National Gallery, London, is free to enter and contains the nation's paintings from Western Europe, dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The changing influences and attitudes in art can be traced, as the collection is organised by date rather than by artist or movement.
Paintings in the 13th to 15th century collection show that art was becoming increasingly concerned with mythology and symbolism. Botticelli's Venus and Mars, 1485, is an example of this. The fact that she is awake and he is asleep, symbolises love conquering over war. Other important works are religious paintings by Raphael and da Vinci.
In the 16th century gallery, mythology is even more prominent as a subject. By now art was appreciated for its own sake, and there was a focus on recreating the dramatic and classic works of Ancient Rome and Greece.
By the 17th century, landscape and still life paintings were becoming popular. This collection includes work by Caravaggio, Rubens and Rebrandt.
The collection of works from the 18th to 20th century, shows more informal paintings, designed to be sold through galleries, rather than only commissioned. Canvases were generally smaller, and artists used a variety of styles. In this section visitors can view art by Turner, Constable, Degas and Monet. The iconic painting 'Sunflowers' by van Gogh is housed in this part of the gallery.
The National Gallery offers a range of tours and scheduled talks, including tours for beginners, and for those who have a short amount of time to visit. There are many activities for children, such as the noisy gallery, story telling and arts and crafts.
The building is accessible to disabled visitors and there are toilet facilities available.
On site there are drinking fountains, a cafe, gift shop, toilets and baby change facilities.
The gallery's location in the heart of London means travel by car is not advised, since the roads are so busy. There are very good train, tube and bus links, and visitors should contact the gallery for the latest travel information.
The National Gallery,