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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Masterpieces of Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Masterpieces of Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s Gallery is an art gallery at Buckingham Palace, home of the British monarch, in London. It exhibits works of art from the Royal Collection on a rotating basis with about 450 works are on display at any one time. When not on display at the Queen’s Gallery, the masterpieces of the Royal Collection maybe spread among numerous historic royal residences in the United Kingdom.

The Masterpieces of the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Collection include:

  • “Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman”, ‘The Music Lesson’ by Johannes Vermeer
    • “Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman” or ‘The Music Lesson’ by Johannes Vermeer depicts a painting of young female pupil during a music lesson with a gentleman. Their relationship is no certain or clear from this painting. The composition uses perspective to draw the eye towards the back of the room where the figures are in front of the virginal. The virginal is a keyboard instrument of the harpsichord family and was popular in Europe during the late Renaissance and early Baroque period. The composition is dominated by the covered table, the chair and the bass violin the foreground. The light through the windows fills the room, casting soft, subtle shadows. The composition includes a mirror on the wall where the blurred reflections include the young woman’s face, part of the table and the legs of an artist’s easel.
  • “Massacre of the Innocents” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
    • “Massacre of the Innocents” by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, depicts the story from St Matthew’s Gospel when King Herod ordered the death of all children in Bethlehem under the age of two. Herod made this command after hearing from the wise men of the birth of Jesus. Bruegel re-imagined the scene into a 16th-century Netherlandish village, where the Flemish villagers are attacked by Spanish soldiers and German mercenaries. This depiction served as a commentary on the occupying Spanish led troops in the prelude to the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, also known as the Eighty Years’ War. Bruegel’s detailed painting is typical of his elaborate narrative style, and the painting depicts numerous small story vignettes in the overall scene. Bruegel’s art was a favourite image, and several oil-on-oak-panel versions of “The Massacre of the Innocent”s were painted by 16th-century Netherlandish painters Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Explore London’s Museums and Heritage Sites

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“Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.”
– Queen Victoria

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Photo Credit: I, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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