Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous landmarks in England's capital city. Associated with Nelson's column and legions of pigeons, the square is a tourist trap for people all over the world. But aside from the obvious features of the square with which we are all familiar, there is one particularly compelling reason to take a trip to one of the world's most famous squares.
The National Gallery is located within Trafalgar Square, where it has been situated for close to two hundred years. No matter how you feel about art and the art world, this is a worthwhile way for anyone to spend an afternoon, particularly as you don't have to spend a single penny to see the incredible treasures housed within it. However, when I went, I didn't take the Homer Simpson route, and made the suggested donation to the maintenance of this incredible gallery.
As I walked round the National Gallery, I couldn't help contemplating the sheer value of the paintings housed within it. Frankly, the figure would be barely comprehensible, as the National Gallery houses a collection of nearly 2,500 of the most famous and renowned paintings from the mid-13th century to the beginning of the twentieth. Yet despite the incredible wealth of artwork which the museum plays home to, the lack of security and relaxed atmosphere of the place makes it very welcoming. I'm quite sure there are extensive security provision in place, though!
It is extremely difficult to make a reasonable listing of the treasures contained within the walls of the National Gallery, as it is arguably the pre-eminent collection of paintings anywhere in the world. But if you're a fan of impressionism, then you can see some of Claude Monet's most famous works at the National Gallery, while classics by the incomparable Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci also feature prominently. The gallery doesn't delve into contemporary work, but there is some modern art present within the gallery, despite the existence of the Tate Modern, and I particularly enjoyed some of Turner's exhibits which were hung here.
Anyone that can paint anything that looks remotely like what it is supposed to look like is better at painting than me, so appreciating the skill of a great artist as opposed to a good one can be a little bit difficult for me, as I'm sure it is for many people. But it is only when you get up close to some of these works that you can appreciate the exquisite detail of the paintings, and the amazing skill, craft and patience which went into producing them.
I would really recommend an afternoon in the National Gallery to anyone, no matter how much or little you know about art. Considering you can wander round happily for hours for £2 and a ticket to go and watch Chelsea costs about £60, I know which represents better value.
Christopher Morris admires the work of Dali, Turner, Escher and Feininger, wishes he could paint at better than a seven year-old level, and is a regular contributor to Yahoo on television, cinema, video games, technology and politics.
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