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Old Masters galore

The National Gallery in London, England

Surely one of the world's greatest collections of paintings deserves another couple of half-days of your time? A huge neoclassical edifice houses some of the finest works the 13th to 20th centuries has to offer (start in the modern Sainsbury wing, way off to the left of the main entrance).

You've got da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks, 1/3 of Uccello's Battle of San Romano, Botticelli's erotic Venus and Mars, and Michelangelo's unfinished Entombment. El Greco's Agony in the Garden hangs alongside works by other Spanish greats Goya and Velázquez, and, not to be left out, the northern European schools are represented by the likes of Rubens, Vermeer, and a pair of Rembrandt self-portraits.

The 19th-century Brits hold forth with Gainsborough, Constable, and Turner, but are outdone by impressionist masters Monet, Degas, Renoir, Seurat, and Cézanne.

My favorite hidden treasures: da Vinci's huge drawing of the Virgin and Child, in an antechamber off the first room, and Hoogstraten's masterful optical illusion Peepshow.

There are free guided tours, but to set your own pace donate £3 ($6) and carry along the informative digital audio tour. The on-site Brasserie restaurant is surprisingly excellent for museum chow.

Trafalgar Square (at the top of the square; you can't miss it)
Tube: Charing Cross

Daily 10am–6pm (Wed to 9pm)
tel. +44-(0)20-7747-2885



Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in May 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.