Research Activities

Research is a constant and fundamental activity at the National Gallery, helping to underpin many areas of the Gallery’s work, including:

  • Exhibitions, scholarly catalogues and other publications
  • The care and conservation of the pictures
  • Their display and interpretation

The Gallery is committed to ongoing collection-based research leading to the publication of a series of scholarly catalogues covering the different schools in the collection.  These catalogues are complemented by exhibition related research which can also result in scholarly publications as well as conferences and seminars.

The Gallery is internationally renowned for scientific based research, ranging from analysis of the paintings themselves to explorations of the best conditions in which to house and display the collection.

The Gallery has also defined four research themes to give a unifying structure for selecting, prioritising and directing current and future projects:

  • Buying, Collecting, Display
  • The Meaning of Making
  • Art and Religion
  • Centre for Venetian Art and its History

These themes build on the traditional strengths of the Gallery’s research and are also effective as an expression of the Gallery’s areas of interest, giving a framework for development of collaborations with external institutions such as HEIs and other research organisations.

In exploring these themes, the Gallery has entered into formal research partnerships with the University of York, King’s College London, and the Courtauld Institute.  It also collaborates on a number of MA programmes:  Christianity and the Arts (with King’s College London); Art History, Curatorship, and Renaissance Culture (with the Warburg Institute); and the Art Market and the History of Collecting (with the University of Buckingham).

The Gallery maintains the Subject Specialist Network: European Paintings pre-1900 as part of its national programme.  The network provides the opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences, and new ideas about paintings, including ways of improving public engagement through display and interpretation.

Further details about the scope of the Gallery’s research and the full range of current projects are available on our website