The London gallery now owns 21 paintings by women out of a total of 2,300, announcing its newest acquisition in July. The gallery did not… Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The publicly-funded art gallery, which was last year given more than £23m by the government, paid £3.6m for a self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, saying that in doing so it was fulfilling a “long-held dream” of showing more female artists. However, art historians have chastised the National Gallery for overspending, buying the work from a mystery dealer just a few months after it was sold at a Paris auction for just over £2m. The National Gallery has been accused of paying £1.3m over the odds for the first painting by a woman it had purchased in 25 years.