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Claude-Joseph Vernet's 'A Sea-Shore' is recorded as having been made as one of a pair for the Comte de Luc. The scene is largely fanciful but includes reminiscences of real buildings, notably the Naples lighthouse, recorded by Vernet in a drawing in Vienna. The washerwomen by the river to the right are observed by the fashionably dressed ladies on a platform of rock on the left. The latter have with them a black page and a man in military costume who gestures across to the river. This group is silhouetted against the sun and overshadowed by the dark cloud that stretches over the lighthouse on the central axis of the painting.

This Italian coastal scene bathed in soft sunlight is clearly influenced by the port scenes of Claude, though much of the effect in Vernet's painting depends upon its picturesque human detail.

Detail from Claude-Joseph Vernet, 'A Sea-Shore', 1776 © The National Gallery, London.
#vernet #seashore #landscape #claudejosephvernet #nationalgallery #nationalgallerylondon #instamuseum


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Claude-Joseph Vernet was born #OnThisDay in 1714 in Avignon. He was the leading French landscape painter of the later 18th century and achieved great celebrity with his topographical paintings and serene landscapes. He was also one of the century's most accomplished painters of tempests and moonlight scenes. 'A Landscape at Sunset' shows a port bathed in glowing evening sunshine. The mood is one of serenity, yet the painting is full of details of activities and the effects of light are rendered with breathtaking delicacy.
Vernet was renowned for pairs of paintings showing contrasting states of nature and his works were especially sought-after by British collectors in the 18th-century. This painting and its pendant, 'A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas' are now the only such pair to be found in a British public collection. The pair originally belonged to the celebrated Englishman Clive of India, who bought them from Vernet in 1773. They are acknowledged as being two of Vernet's greatest marine pictures.

Detail from Claude-Joseph Vernet, 'A Landscape at Sunset', 1773 © The National Gallery, London.

#vernet #sunset #landscape #claudejosephvernet #nationalgallery #nationalgallerylondon #instamuseum


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In Willem van de Velde's 'Dutch Vessels Inshore and Men Bathing' clouds on the right are banked over a fleet of men-of-war in the distance. One is firing a salute and one, shown from the side, has the flag and pennant of a commander-in-chief. In the foreground, a man with a basket walks from the right; behind him a group of men play in the shallows.
The figures are probably by the artist himself, though they resemble those of his brother, Adriaen van de Velde, who was employed in Amsterdam to paint figures in works by other artists.

Detail from Willem van de Velde, 'Dutch Vessels Inshore and Men Bathing', 1661 © The National Gallery, London.

#willemvandevelde #dutchpainting #oilpainting #arthistory #nationalgallery #instamuseum


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This painting shows the village and church of Middelharnis in the province of South Holland. The view is remarkably accurate and has hardly changed since the 17th century. Hobbema's design with the avenue of trees receding towards the centre of the picture is simple yet at the same time majestic. The trees are employed to mark the quick recession from foreground to background while the expanse of sky is emphasised by the upward-pointing trees. Unfortunately the paint of the sky was damaged by cleaning some time in the 19th century; the billowing cloud to the right is the best preserved section.

Before 1660, Hobbema had been the pupil of Jacob van Ruisdael. However, by 1689 Hobbema was not painting for a living anymore. In 1668 he had obtained a well-paid job with the wine-importers' association of Amsterdam, and from then on seems to have painted only occasionally. The present painting is one of only a handful of pictures from this period.

Detail from Meindert Hobbema, 'The Avenue at Middelharnis', 1689 © The National Gallery, London.

#meinderthobbema #middelharnis #avenue #avenueatmiddelharnis #oilpainting #arthistory #nationalgallery #instamuseum


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Stroll along the banks of the Amstel river in Westerkerk, Amsterdam in this unusually large painting by Jan van der Heyden.
It was commissioned by the governors of the Westerkerk, for their meeting room, where it remained until 1864. The date, which appears with a signature on the lowest step of one of the houses to the right, is unclear, but probably originally read '1660'. The church was a comparatively recent building at that time, begun in 1620 to the designs of Hendrick de Keyser and completed in 1638. It is shown from the east, across the Keizersgracht.
Characteristic of van der Heyden, who specialised in town views, is the way the picture is painted in every minute detail. The figures were added later, and interestingly, given the artist's attention to detail, their shadows and reflections in the water are missing.

Detail from Jan van der Heyden, 'View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam', probably 1660 © The National Gallery, London.

#janvanderheyden #amsterdam #westerkerk #painting #oilpainting #nationalgallery #instamuseum


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Letizia Treves, The James and Sarah Sassoon Curator of Later Italian, Spanish, and French 17th-century paintings and Hannah Rothschild CBE, who in 2015 became the first woman to chair the National Gallery board of Trustees, view Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria'. The painting is currently undergoing conservation and you can watch updates about the cleaning of the painting by clicking on the #NGArtemisia highlight on our profile. To find out more, make sure to follow #NGArtemisia on our social media over the coming months.
Of the sixty or so paintings attributed to Artemisia, the majority feature a strong female heroine as the main protagonist. Many of Artemisia’s paintings have been read as autobiographical and there is no doubt that her personal identity is closely intertwined with her artistic production. This is especially true of the paintings she produced in Florence (where she lived 1612–20), in which she repeatedly used her own image; perhaps as a vehicle for self-promotion (much as Rembrandt did in the Netherlands). The tightly cropped composition of 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' shows a female figure turning towards the viewer. A halo is visible just above her head, indicating that she is a saint. Her left hand rests on the top of a broken spiked wheel; the symbol associated with Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint martyred in the early 4th century AD. Sentenced to death by the Emperor Maxentius, Catherine was bound to revolving wheels studded with iron spikes and nails. She escaped this instrument of torture through heavenly intervention but was later beheaded.

Letizia Treves and Hannah Rothschild with Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' © The National Gallery, London.

#artemisiagentileschi #artemisia #gentileschi #nationalgallery #saintcatherine #conservation #selfportrait


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Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' is the latest acquisition to the Gallery, becoming the first painting by Artemisia Gentileschi to enter our collection & the first female portrait to form part of our Italian 17th-century collection.

The painting is currently undergoing conservation and you can watch updates about the cleaning of the painting by clicking on the #NGArtemisia highlight on our profile. To find out more, make sure to follow #NGArtemisia on our social media over the coming months.
The painting dates from Artemisia’s period of activity in Florence, where she moved in 1612 following her rape by Agostino Tassi and the infamous trial that ensued. Saint Catherine’s physiognomy, head, and three-quarter pose are all closely related to those in Artemisia’s ‘Self Portrait as a Lute Player’ (about 1615–8) in @thewadsworth, Hartford, USA, suggesting that this too is a self-portrait of the artist. Her right hand holding the palm frond is identical to that in Artemisia’s ‘Saint Catherine of Alexandria’ (now in @uffizigalleries), a work which probably dates from around the same time.

Artemisia Gentileschi, 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria', about 1615-17 © The National Gallery, London.

#artemisiagentileschi #artemisia #gentileschi #nationalgallery #saintcatherine #conservation #selfportrait


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Here, Larry Keith, our Head of Conservation and Keeper, inspects Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria'. This is the latest acquisition to the Gallery, becoming the first painting by Artemisia Gentileschi to enter our collection & the first female portrait to form part of our Italian 17th-century collection.

The painting is currently undergoing conservation and you can watch updates about the cleaning of the painting by clicking on the #NGArtemisia highlight on our profile. To find out more, make sure to follow #NGArtemisia on our social media over the coming months.
Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished painters among the followers of Caravaggio, whom she must have known personally through her father Orazio. In an era when female artists were not easily accepted, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence and she had a truly international clientele, including the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Charles I of England, and Philip IV of Spain.

Here, Artemisia paints herself in the guise of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint martyred in the early 4th century. She leans on a broken wheel studded with iron spikes, the instrument of Catherine’s torture and the saint’s standard attribute. Her right hand, delicately holding a martyr’s palm between thumb and forefinger, is brought to her chest.

Larry Keith examines Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Self-portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria’ ©The National Gallery, London

#artemisiagentileschi #artemisia #gentileschi #ngartemisia #nationalgallery #saintcatherine #conservation #selfportrait


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A self-taught artist from Bolton in England, Thomas Cole was the greatest American landscape artist of his generation. 'Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire' is a rare chance to see Cole’s epic works – mostly travelling from America – including his masterpiece the ‘Oxbow’, and his awe-inspiring portrayals of Eden showing the force of nature. Cole’s paintings are shown alongside the sublime masterpieces by Turner and Constable that inspired him. Click the link in our bio to book tickets online and save, Members go free.
Here, Thomas Cole’s trompe l’oeil painting imitates a preliminary oil sketch tacked to a wooden board. Although it pretends to be a preparatory study, it was probably painted after the large-scale work was completed. Cole is thought to have given it to the artist Asher Brown Durand as a token of their friendship, and their shared passion for the Italian landscape and the practise of sketching in oil.
Detail from Thomas Cole, 'Sketch for 'Dream of Arcadia', 1838 © Collection of the New York Historical Society, New York.
#thomascole #cole #landscape #painting #exhibition #nationalgallery #nationalgallerylondon #instamuseum #trompeloeil


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A self-taught artist from Bolton in England, Thomas Cole was the greatest American landscape artist of his generation. 'Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire' is a rare chance to see Cole’s epic works – mostly travelling from America – including his masterpiece the ‘Oxbow’, and his awe-inspiring portrayals of Eden showing the force of nature. Cole’s paintings are shown alongside the sublime masterpieces by Turner and Constable that inspired him. Click the link in our bio to book tickets online and save, Members go free.
Thomas Cole began work on this ambitious series of historical landscapes narrating the rise and fall of civilisation in about 1834, a concept that had been brewing since his trip to London two years earlier. He had further refined his ideas in Rome, among the ruins of the ancient world.
Each scene in ‘The Course of Empire’ is set in the same imaginary location with its distinctive mountain. The sequence follows the times of day: from dawn in ‘The Savage State’, through none in ‘Consummation’, to moonrise in ‘Desolation’. ‘The Course of Empire’ is a moral fable in which progress and civilisation are undermined by man’s greed and innate aggression. Human progress is inevitably self-destructive, and the natural world eventually prevails. Cole was issuing a clear warning to modern America.
Photo by #nationalgallery photographer Tom Patterson
#thomascole #cole #landscape #painting #exhibition #courseofempire #nationalgallerylondon #instamuseum


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A self-taught artist from Bolton in England, Thomas Cole was the greatest American landscape artist of his generation. 'Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire' is a rare chance to see Cole’s epic works – mostly travelling from America – including his masterpiece the ‘Oxbow’, and his awe-inspiring portrayals of Eden showing the force of nature. Cole’s paintings are shown alongside the sublime masterpieces by Turner and Constable that inspired him. Click the link in our bio to book tickets online and save, Members go free.

Thomas Cole painted this view of Monte Video in 1828. Here, he abandoned the traditional landscape conventions to capture a panoramic sweep of his friend and patron, Daniel Wadsworth's spectacular estate near Hartford, Connecticut. A young woman sits on the rocky ledge in the foreground as an artistic muse. A blasted tree on the left symbolises pure wilderness, providing a contrast to the landscaped and cultivated scenery surrounding the house. The steeple of a village church is just visible in the distant valley below.

Detail from Thomas Cole, 'View of Monte Video, the Seat of Daniel Wadsworth, Esq.', 1828 © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Bequest of Daniel Wadsworth

#thomascole #cole #landscape #painting #exhibition #nationalgallery #nationalgallerylondon #instamuseum


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This is the only known portrait in which Gainsborough included himself with his family. With him are his wife, Margaret Burr, whom he married in July 1746, and their daughter.

Gainsborough holds in his hand a paper, perhaps once showing a sketch, but now transparent with age, as is the figure of the child. It has been presumed that she must be the Gainsboroughs' eldest surviving daughter Mary, born shortly before February 1750.

Detail from Thomas Gainsborough, 'Portrait of the Artist and his Wife and Daughter', about 1748 © The National Gallery, London.

#gainsborough #thomasgainsborough #portrait #family #couple #painting #historyofart #oilpainting #instamuseum #nationalgallery #nationalgallerylondon #free


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