Art Drama Passion
art experiences – putting the story into art history

Do you like mysteries and secrets?
Join me for a National Gallery Art Tour!

What do you see when you go to an art gallery? Walls full of paintings that hold little interest because they mean nothing to you? Imagine the thrill of being in on the secrets that paintings hold. There is something very wonderful about uncovering what an artist is trying to tell you, and why, or knowing what a painting has ‘seen’ in a previous life. Believe me, the stories within the paintings are very often matched by the stories of the works themselves! Join me for a gallery art tour that will leave you full of insights and inspired to know more.

Please note that the National Gallery is currently closed, however, as soon as it re-opens I would be delighted to take you on an art tour through its hallowed halls.

If the National Gallery isn’t accessible to you, or you would prefer to revel in art from the comfort of your own home, why not book one of my virtual art tours? To find out more go to the virtual art tours page.

Gallery art tours

The gallery art tours I offer are listed below. The gallery is currently closed but if you’re planning ahead, contact me to arrange a private gallery art tour to take place when the National Gallery is welcoming visitors once more, or select your preferred theme below and follow the instructions. Each gallery art tour lasts approximately an hour and a half and costs £200.

Gift vouchers

A Beyond the Palette gift voucher is the perfect solution for an unusual and thoughtful gift. Click here and take the first step to a personalised voucher to send to a lucky recipient or recipients, available for private Zoom art tours and private gallery art tours.

Bespoke tours

Is there something about art that you have always been curious about, or perhaps there is an artist, artistic style, theme or epoch that fascinates you? If your interest falls into the category of Western Art between 1250 and 1900, why not get in touch and I would be delighted to curate a tour just for you. Alternatively, we could put our heads together to give a friend, relative or loved one a unique gift they’d always remember.

Fun, informative, entertaining. What more could you ask?

Ian RitchieGallery Art Tour

Best experience ever!!

DilaGallery Art Tour

Conversation Pieces

From astonishment to anger and rage to ridicule, the artists and paintings in this tour have ignited what must have been the liveliest of discussions. What was so radical about Masaccio? Who was showing off more, Titian or his patron? Why did Turner need to complete his most famous masterpiece so quickly, and if Cezanne had tried a bit harder would his work have caused quite such a row? Charting the course of Western art history with their own unique stories, the conversations surrounding these works have lost none of their allure – especially when mixed with some Beyond the Palette sparkle!

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Women! Brilliant, beautiful and occasionally bonkers

From the vanity of Greek Goddesses to the intelligence and determination of women operating in a man’s world, this tour celebrates the glory, and occasional caprice, of women in art throughout the centuries. We will revel in paintings by the great artistic masters including Velázquez, Rubens, Titian and the fabulous but perhaps less well-known Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, luxuriating in delicious details and saucy scandal as we relish each carefully chosen work.

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Detail from Vigée Le Brun self-portrait, Gallery Art Tour

A romp through the early works from the 14th to the 16th century

Enter a world of saints and the occasional sinner. Most art pre-1500 was for the church but, my, was it lavish, fascinating and often gorgeous. Learn to recognise individual saints, understand why Jesus was seldom depicted as cute and rejoice in an abundance of gold. And the sinner? Shall we just say that not all art was religious?

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Detail from Patient Griselda, Gallery Art Tour

A romp through the later works from the 17th century to the 20th century

Starting with the genius of Rubens, we will romp through the art of the baroque à la Caravaggio, stopping to admire perhaps the loveliest bottom in the gallery, before dissecting an early selfie and unravelling JMW Turner’s unusual take on an historic event. Like all good stories, this one has a twist at the end that will force us to question everything we’ve learnt about art.

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Detail from Rubens’ Judgement of Paris, Gallery Art Tour

Greek Mythology

There’s nothing like a good party, and Bacchus has to be the ultimate host, whereas Medusa always reduces even the most raucous gathering to stony silence. Many works in the gallery derive from Greek Mythology, and for centuries the lively narration of stories such as these was the ultimate art form. Expect plenty of drama, passion and the occasional satyr.

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Perspective in Focus

Why didn’t western artists really use perspective before the Renaissance era? Why did it become central to the way paintings were produced during and after the Renaissance, and what is perspective anyway? These questions and more are explored through some of the gallery’s most iconic works with wit, humour and a dollop of algebra so tiny as to be almost imperceptible.

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Fabulous Flesh

From voluptuous goddesses to a cheeky flash of muscular male gluteus maximus, flesh is on display everywhere in the gallery. We will explore the erotic, the confusing and often downright weird offerings that artists have come up with over the centuries, sometimes all within the same picture!

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If paintings could throw glitter you’ll be sparkling from head to toe! The flamboyance of St Sebastian finds its match in the outrageous demands of Zeus whilst, ever the saucy provocateur, Caravaggio’s prodigious talent shocks and seduces in equal measure. Sexy, fun and brimming with irreverence, feather boas are optional.

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Detail from Reni’s The Toilet of Venus, Gallery Art Tour