National Museum Cardiff

The national museum's fine art collection gives a comprehensive overview of stylistic developments across Europe from 1500.

The National Museum of Wales was founded in 1905,and has collections of archaeology, botany, fine and applied art, geology and zoology.

Permanent collections

The collection is particularly strong in its late-19th- and 20th-century galleries, due in large part to the bequest of 260 works by the sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies in the middle of the last century.

Old Masters include works by Cima da Conegliano, Jan van der Capelle and Frans Snyders, with classical landscapes by Poussin and Salvator Rosa. Among the later pictures there is a significant French emphasis, with the world's largest collection of works by satirical artist Honoré Daumier, and canvases by Boudin, Corot, Manet, Pissarro and Renoir, as well as three Monet waterlilies. Post-Impressionist works include three Cézannes, Van Gogh's Rain at Auvers, and a bronze cast of Rodin's The Kiss.

The development of Welsh art is explored through outstanding landscapes by Thomas Jones and Richard Wilson as well as other works by Augustus and Gwen John. Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn and Dylan Thomas are among the faces on display in the gallery of notable Welsh figures.

The geological and archaeological collections follow the geographical evolution of Wales up to the end of the last ice age, before going in search of the origins of early Welsh man. A multimedia installation recreates the experience of South Wales 200 million years ago, while fossils and plant and animal life add further detail to the picture. Of particular interest from the later archaeological galleries is the beautiful collection of Bronze Age gold jewellery and artefacts.

Art Funded works

Nineteen of Nicolas Poussin's paintings take Moses as their subject. The Finding of Moses from 1651 is distinguished not only by the animated detail of the foreground scene, but also by the accuracy of the archaeological background.

A late still life, Picasso's Nature Morte aux Poron reworks the classic genre as an exercise in Cubist angularity. While the palette reflects the artist's post-war shift away from darker colours in favour of brighter, lighter shades, the objects themselves are long-established symbols in the artist's artistic vocabulary.

Visitor information

Refreshments can be found at either the cafe in the main hall or the downstairs Oriel Restaurant, which prides itself on its locally sourced produce.

Art we've helped buy at National Museum Cardiff

Venue details

National Museum Cardiff Cathays Park Cardiff CF10 3NP 029 2039 7951

Entry details

Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all

Tues – Sun & most Bank Holiday Mondays
10am – 5pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec, 1 Jan

Member offers

10% off shop, café and restaurant purchases