German Paintings at the National Gallery London

View of Trafalgar Square from the entrance of the National Gallery


I don’t usually write about Art, although I enjoy visiting galleries and exhibitions. There is no category for it in the blog so the post is simply under the heading of Travel or in this case, My London.

Late on Sunday night I had an idea for a jaunt to town on the Bank Holiday, the third one this May. We are headed to Berlin next week and I know very little about German art, save for Hans Holbein’s magnificent The Ambassadors in the National Gallery. I sat through three school trips with the children but the details were now hazy. I only remembered that you have to look at the painting sideways to make sense of the flattened skull in the foreground.


The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger


It turned out to be a really valuable visit and I made a note to read up more on the lives and works of German painters. Below are some of the paintings in the National Gallery. There are other German painters featured on their website and also in their book (see below). For an overview on German Art here is the relevant page on Wikipedia. A shorter article with a personal list of the top 12 most famous German artists is here.


Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan by Hans Holbein the Younger


Portraits of Johann the Steadfast and Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous by Lucas Cranach the Elder


The Trinity and Mystic Pietà by Hans Baldung Grien


Saint Jerome by Albrecht Dürer


Christ taking leave of his Mother by Albrecht Altdorfer


The National Gallery has several food outlets and the gift shop is full of lovely and useful items


For some background reading I would recommend Strange Beauty: German Paintings at the National Gallery by Caroline Bugler, published by Yale University Press, ISBN 978-1857095708. The writing is uncomplicated and it’s easy to finish reading it in one sitting.


After the visit to the National Gallery we wandered north to Chinatown and had some noodles for lunch followed by a matcha soft scoop ice cream at Tsujiri


If I had not eaten the ice cream I might have considered a Black Forest donut from Donutelier. One of my cousins recently sent me a photo of her rather large slice of Black Forest Cake. I might return later in the week to get that donut. Or some donuts….no point stopping at one.



The next post will be a short introduction to Berlin. We have a busy family and community life and Mr Gochugaru still works full time in the City, so I am slightly concerned with the lack of preparation for this trip. I have resigned myself to eat, drink, sleep and see what we can manage, and to make a return trip if we miss too much of what is essential in Germany’s capital.