National Gallery of London houses a brilliant collection of European art from the early period of the Renaissance (XIIIth century) up to Impressionism period (XIXth century). The gallery contains around 2300 paintings from each great European school, and was founded in 1824 when the private collection of 38 paintings of the banker John Angerstein was bought by the British Government. The 38 paintings were originally displayed at Angerstein's house Pall Mall. It was opened in 1938 on its current location, Trafalgar Square, which was chosen for its spot between the very wealthy western part and the poorer eastern part, as a gallery for everyone. The National Gallery has an imposing, royal façade and lies on the northern area of Trafalgar Square.
Nowadays, the National Gallery of London has one of the most interesting collections of European paintings in the world. As the National Gallery building was expanded and developed over the years, so it has happened with the collection of paintings that now includes many works of art of inestimable value. Over the years the National Gallery collection was expanded through acquisitions or donations, some of them extremely important as a number of valuable works.
The gallery is divided into four areas. Sainsbury Wing Collection exhibits the early Renaissance collection, with pictures dating from 1260-1510, the western wing with painting from 1510-1600, the northern one -from 1600-1700, and the eastern one from 1700-1900.
The National Gallery of London offers a wide range of paintings belonging to some of the greatest European artists. Among the most popular are: "Venus and Mars" by Botticelli, "Sunflowers" by Van Gogh, "Madonna of the rock grotto" by Leonardo da Vinci, "Samson and Delilah" by Rubens. Also, one can admire here the works of artists like Titian, Rembrandt, Jan van Eyck, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Constable, Gainsborough. Besides the permanent collection, there is a very dynamic and diverse program of temporary exhibitions to be seen at the National Gallery but also all sorts of initiatives designed to bring art closer to people.
The National Gallery is undoubtedly an important tourist attraction in London.
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