We are very lucky to live in a country where art galleries have huge collections on display that we can visit completely free of charge, including:
These all have free, as well as ticketed, exhibitions and they are starting to open up again, so you can safely visit. You can even go on guided tours (check if and when these are available) or take audio tours. This can really help to give a background to the work that is shown, and is an easy way of gaining more knowledge of art history.
Visiting a gallery doesn't mean you have to look at every single piece, or even traipse around every exhibition in the building, as that's bad for boredom and the feet! Select a section that excites your child/children; research it a little before you go (just googling the artist will do), and this way you know it will be of interest. With big collections, I recommend selecting an era or specific movement like the Impressionists or Cubists. There is nothing wrong with going to the National Gallery and heading straight to the artworks that you easily recognise. You will find that you can broaden your knowledge by just looking at other pieces from the same era, or lesser known paintings by the same artist.
To give you a head start with either your research, your virtual tour, or your in-person visit, we have put together a ‘must see’ list for a few of the big galleries! As galleries are having to close to the public, we have noted which ones have virtual tours, and all of there have wonderful websites in which you can still view the work with lots of information on each piece.
National Gallery, London
(Virtual Tour Available)
Virgin of the Rocks - Da Vinci
The Ambassadors - Hans Holbein the Younger
The Water Lily Pond - Monet
SunFlowers - Van Gogh
The Fighting Temeraire - Turner
(Website with collections highlights and videos)
The David - Michelangelo. The whole of the Cast Courts is quite a fun place to wander round!
Costume Section - Musical Theatre
'Tipu's Tiger', 1780s or 1790s, Mysore, India. Museum no 2545 (IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
(Website with artist information and images of whole collection)
Weeping Woman - Picasso
Metamorphosis of Narcissus - Salvador Dali
Fountain - Duchamp
Marilyn Diptych - Andy Warhol
A Bigger Splash, David Hockney 1967 - Tate Britain
Ophelia – Sir John Everett Millais
Draped Seated Woman - Henry Moore
No Woman No Cry - Chris Ofili
Study for Portrait of Van Gogh IV - Francis Bacon
Les hasards heureux de l'escarpolette (The Swing), Jean-Honoré Fragonard
(Website with collection highlights and videos of talks and courses)
The Laughing Cavalier - Franz Haus
The Swing - Fragonard
The Rainbow Landscape - Ruebens
The Rising of the Sun and The Setting of the Sun - Francois Boucher