The May Fair

The May Fair hotel blog

14 May 2011

Must see – our top 10 works of art at the National Gallery 0  

Posted in Art, London Reporter

The National Gallery is one of the largest galleries in Europe and holds a stunning collection of artwork and sculpture. Here’s a top 10 pieces you must see – they’re all permanent and free to see so no excuses!

The Leonardo Cartoon – Leonardo da Vinci

This large drawing is a preparatory drawing for the main painting that hangs in the Louvre in Paris and drew large crowds when it was fist displayed to the public in 1501 in Florence.

The Leonardo Cartoon

– Venus and Mars – Botticelli

In this painting Mars, God of War, is asleep and unarmed while Venus, Goddess of Love, is wide awake showing that love conquers war. Aww.

Venus and Mars

– The Madonna of the Pinks – Raphael

This small painting depicts

the Virgin Mary and Child with some small flowers (pinks) meant to symbolise marriage. The painting was thought to be a copy for over a century until it was verified as an original Raphael.

Madonna and the Pinks

– Le Chapeau de Paille – Rubens

Le Chapeau de Paille or ‘The Straw Hat’ is thought to be a portrait of Susanne Lunden from probably around 1622-25 although this is unconfirmed. ‘Paille’ (or straw in English) is also thought to be a spelling mistake as her hat isn’t straw at all and probably should be ‘poil’ (meaning velvet).

Le Chapeau de Paille

– Bacchus and Ariadne – Titian

This masterpiece depicts Bacchus, God of Wine, leaping from his chariot as he falls in love with Ariadne on sight.

Bacchus and Ariadne

– The Entombment – Michelangelo

This painting is unfinished and so there has been some disagreement over who’s who in the painting, however preparatory drawings can be found in the Louvre and the piece is widely accepted to be by Michelangelo.

The Entombment

– Rokeby Venus – Velazquez

Also known as ‘The Toilet of Venus’, this image shows the beautiful goddess Venus with her son Cupid holding up a mirror for her to admire her reflection. Originally from Spain, Velazquez caused outrage with his female nude when the Spanish church disapproved.

Rokeby Venus

– Sunflowers – Van Gogh

This iconic image from Van Gogh is world famous and a must see whether you are visiting or living in London.


– The Water-Lily Pond – Monet

Monet painted a series of canvases portraying the water lily pond at his home in Giverny in different lights and this painting is particularly beautiful with vivid greens and the famous Japanese bridge.

The Water-Lily Pond

– The Fighting Temeraire – Turner

The Temeraire was a ship that played an important part in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the ship remained in service until it was decommissioned in 1838 and this painting is thought to represent a sense of loss and the decline of Britain’s naval power.

The Fighting Temeraire

You can walk from the May Fair to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square through the backstreets of Mayfair or alternatively take a historic stroll down The Mall – perfect on a summers day.

We love art at The May Fair! You can come and view many of our modern pieces on show in the lobby, bar and public areas of the hotel. What’s your favourite piece?

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Posted in Art, London Reporter

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