When I visited London last month, I made a point to go see three of the city’s most popular art galleries. They are the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, and Somerset House. Each offers a wide variety of artwork of varying themes, styles, and time periods. The National Gallery, for instance, has the largest collection of paintings of Jesus you will every see in your life. This is because back in feudal times the church was the only institution that could afford to commission artwork. The Tate Modern — while housing some great art including 4 original Salvador Dali paintings — is one of the most pretentious galleries you will ever visit. This is the place that showcased the infamous unmade bed that eventually sold for $4 million dollars. Other outrageous pieces I saw there were a mirror, a beige hexagon on a white wall, and a group of tastefully assembled twigs.
But this isn’t about the ridiculous artwork I saw, this is about the most valuable and iconic artwork I saw — all for free (with the exception of Somerset House where a ticket is 7 pounds unless you are a student). London is a tremendous city for art, and being able to see the original paintings that I grew up seeing pictures of was one of the highlights of my trip. Here are the most valuable pieces of art you can see in London for free (and a few I just really liked):
Claude Monet — Water Lillies — National Gallery
Andy Warhol — Marilyn Monroe Prints — Tate Modern
Frans Hals — Hamlet holding a skull — National Gallery (this is my current phone background)
Pablo Picasso — Nude Green Leaves and Bust — Tate Modern (this reportedly sold for $106.5 million in 2010)
Vincent Van Gogh — I cut off my ear then painted a self portrait — Somerset House
PROOF I WAS THERE!
This guy was fleeing Jerusalem for fear of religious persecution and then he had a vision where he runs into Jesus heading towards Jerusalem with his cross and he’s all like “Jesus, where are you going?,” and Jesus is like “I’m heading back to Jerusalem to get crucified for a second time bro, where are you going?,” and the guy is like “Damn, I’m pretty pathetic for running away from my problems.” — National Gallery
Vincent Van Gogh — that really famous chair painting — National Gallery
Vincent Van Gogh — that really famous sunflower painting — National Gallery
PROOF I WAS THERE!
Look at how many paintings are in this painting — National Gallery
Salvador Dali — Metamorphosis of Narcissus — Tate Modern (sorry for the glare)
Quinten Massys — How old woman look when they try to dress young — National Gallery
Peter Paul Rubens — Samson and Delilah (Samson thought he was getting laid but then Delilah poisoned him because the guys idling in the doorway told her to) — National Gallery
Lucian Freud — I have a really good relationship with my dog — Tate Modern
George Stubbs — A REALLY LEGIT PAINTING OF A HORSE — National Gallery