Top 25 Fine Art

A collection of paintings at The Bowes Museum presenting a comprehensive survey of European art from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

By The Bowes Museum

The Tears of St. Peter (1580/1589) by Domenikos Theotokopoulos El GrecoThe Bowes Museum

Painted in 1580's, this is the first of several versions of the subject by El Greco. It came from the collection of Conde de Quinto and was purchased by John Bowes in 1869 for 200 francs (about £8).

The Rape of Helen (1533/1570) by Circle of Francesco PrimaticcioThe Bowes Museum

Primaticcio was an Italian Mannerist artist who worked at the French Court of Fontainebleau for King Francois I. For Mannerist painters, deliberately exaggerated colour combinations, & elongated limbs were features of their style.

The Nativity (1639/1639) by Jacques StellaThe Bowes Museum

This classical picture depicts the quiet moment of wonder shared by Mary and Joseph at the birth of Christ.

Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1700/1700) by Francesco TrevisaniThe Bowes Museum

Pietro Ottoboni, the subject of this portrait, became a cardinal in 1689. He was the most important patron of the arts in early 18th century Rome, gathering about him the most prominent musicians, writers and artists of his day.

The Bucintoro returning to the Molo on Ascension Day after the Ceremony of Wedding the Adriatic (1730/1735) by Giovanni Antonio Canal CanalettoThe Bowes Museum

This painting and its pendant were painted in the 1730s and are among the six largest known paintings by Canaletto. In this image we can see the Bucintoro returning to the quayside in front of the Doge's Palace, Venice.

Prison Interior (1793/1794) by Francisco GoyaThe Bowes Museum

One of the best known of the museums pieces is Goya’s Prison Scene. Painted under the stimulus of the events of the Peninsular War, Goya developed into the leading painter of his age.

Gibside from the North (1817/1817) by Joseph Mallord William TurnerThe Bowes Museum

The collection holds four Turner paintings, two of which depict Gibside. Gibside Estate had been part of Bowes estate since the early 18th century.

Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter (1630/1640) by Anthony Van DyckThe Bowes Museum

Mowers (1860/1869) by Charles-Émile JacqueThe Bowes Museum

Jacque a distinguished member of the Barbizon school, was fascinated with the effects of light on the landscape and often painted rustic pastoral scenes.

Beach scene at low tide (1867/1867) by Eugene-Louis BoudinThe Bowes Museum

Boudin produced many works depicting the French coastline and this scene is a typical example of his later work, in which urban tourists are portrayed in small groups along the beach.

Landscape with figures and goats (1826/1866) by Adolphe-Joseph-Thomas Monticelli The Bowes Museum

Mercury and Argus (1793/1793) by Pierre-Henri de ValenciennesThe Bowes Museum

This landscape of a crisp, sunbathed classical landscape inspired by Greece and Italy proves a worthy setting for the deeds of gods and heroes.

After the thunderstorm (1817/1817) by Achille-Etna MichallonThe Bowes Museum

This painting depicts a rocky wooded landscape with three male peasants discovering the body of a woman which has been struck by lightning.

Fruit and Flowers (1866/1866) by Henri Fantin-LatourThe Bowes Museum

Barnard Castle (1788/1788) by Thomas HearneThe Bowes Museum

Girtin was an English painter and a close friend and adversary of J M W Turner. Both are highly regarded landscapists of the period, and this work was painted during one of Girtin's sketching tours of the North of England

The Triumph of Judith (1701/1705) by Luca GiordanoThe Bowes Museum

This scene depicts the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes found in the Old Testament. Giordano made numerous preparatory oil sketches such as this one for frescoes and the decorations for the Certosa di San Martino in Naples.

The Harnessing of the Horses of the Sun (1731/1731) by Giovanni Battista TiepoloThe Bowes Museum

Tiepolo depicts Helios trying to dissuade Phaethon from riding across the sky, as horses are harnessed to the golden chariot. He has also included the marble columns of Apollo’s palace.

A Miracle of the Eucharist (1423/1426) by Stefano di Giovanni SassettaThe Bowes Museum

Sassetta was commissioned to create this piece for the feast of Corpus Christi. A Carmelite lay-brother, about to receive communion sacrilegiously, has been struck dead.

Allegory of Innocence and Guile (1520/1574) by Maerten Van HeemskerckThe Bowes Museum

The subject of the painting is a personification of a verse from St. Matthew's Gospel (Chapter 10, verse 16) 'Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents and harmless as doves'.

Dutch men-of-war at anchor (1650/1650) by Simon de VliegerThe Bowes Museum

Reading lesson in a convent (1810/1810) by Francois-Marius GranetThe Bowes Museum

A young girl is reading for an elderly nun, while a young nun looks on attentively and solicitously. Granet's treatment of the subject creates an air of stillness, calm and order.

Self-portrait (1847/1847) by Francois-Saint BonvinThe Bowes Museum

Bonvin was a leading Realist artist the mid-to-late nineteenth century. He executed this self-portrait early in his career when he had only just begun to experiment with painting in oil.

Breakfast Piece (1614/1614) by Jacob van HulsdonckThe Bowes Museum

Jacob Van Hulsdonck became a master of still life painting. His work often features arrangements of fruit, generally including brightly coloured plums, grapes and peaches

Still life with Asparagus, Artichokes, Lemons and Cherries (1500/1599) by Blas de LedesmaThe Bowes Museum

At the centre of this highly stylised still life is a finely woven basket which Ledesma used many times.

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