National Gallery, London
What we love…
The National Gallery in London contains some of the world's most well known paintings—including Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait (also referred to as The Arnolfini Wedding). The works housed here go back as far as the 1200's, and include pieces from some of the the world's most established painters (think Rembrandt, Cézanne, Botticelli, Monet, Van Gogh, Constable, Renoir, and Turner to name but a few). Some of the most famous works at the National Gallery in London include: Van Gogh's Sunflowers, François-Hubert Drouais's Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame, Sandro Botticelli's Venus and Mars, and one of our all time favorites, Diego Velázquez's The Toilet of Venus ("The Rokeby Venus").
What you need to know to navigate the The National Gallery, London
The gallery has four main sections each dedicated to a specific period. The Sainsbury Wing covers works from 1260 - 1510 while the West Wing covers 1510 - 1600. In the North Wing you'll find works from 1600 - 1700, and the East Wing rounds out the collection with works from 1700 - 1900. The gallery is large but not so large that you can't do the whole thing in an afternoon. As with any famous gallery there are hundreds of paints you might not remember from your art history text books, but that doesn't mean they aren't just as inspiring as the classics. Do yourself a favor and explore some of the lesser known works, you'll not only expand your art vocabulary, you'll also discover some new classics. If you're short on time and exploring isn't an option check out the "personal tour machines" in the information Center. These personal tour machines allow you to custom plan your itinerary, pin-pointing exactly the works you want to see and skipping all the stuff you don't.
Like all of the cities galleries the admission here is free, however the National Gallery, London exhibitions do require tickets, which cost anywhere from £9-30 depending on the scale of the exhibit. Due to the high profile of the National Gallery the special exhibits tend to be world class and are usually well-worth the extra charge. The hours at the National Gallery in London are typical, opening every day at 10 am and closing at 6 pm, except on Friday when the gallery is open until 9 pm.