sun 02/08/2015

portraits

Bob Dylan: Face Value, National Portrait Gallery

Face Value – heh, who’d have thought to come up with that title for an exhibition of portraits? Yeah, it’s not particularly clever, but there’s something of the contrarian mischief-maker in it all the same, for in the 50 years that Bob Dylan has...

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BP Portrait Award 2013, National Portrait Gallery

One is increasingly struck by the oddity of an annual portrait prize, or at least I am. Imagine an annual still life award or an open competition for a major prize for abstract art. And imagine how formulaic and stale that would soon become. How...

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Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration, White Cube Bermondsey

Chuck Close is often described as a photorealist. It’s a fair description. His paintings often look like photographs, and he came to prominence in the late Sixties, when photorealism was the rage. At first his huge heads were scaled-up painted...

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Manet: Portraying Life, Royal Academy

While any Manet survey, however compromised by a lack of significant loans, must be considered "an event", this is not quite the exhibition one might have hoped to see of a great artist. Taking up one vast floor of the Royal Academy with just over...

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, National Portrait Gallery

The first thing to say about Paul Elmsley’s portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge, which was unveiled yesterday at the National Portrait Gallery, is that it looks rather better in real life than it does in reproduction. That doesn’t make it a great...

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Yuletide Scenes 1: The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch

In our chilled Decembers, even when snowless, winter scenes are visually synonymous with Christmas, and Henry Raeburn’s small painting of The Reverend Robert Walker, from the 1790s, skating with abstracted solemnity and perfect balance on...

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Painting the Queen: A Portrait of Her Majesty, BBC Four

Has there ever been a successful portrait of the Queen? Not a photograph - there are been plenty of those (with its delicious air of ambivalence, Thomas Struth’s portrait of the Queen with Prince Philip stiffly occupying two ends of a sofa at...

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The Queen: Art and Image, National Portrait Gallery

The Queen is the first mass-media monarch, and still probably the most ubiquitously depicted person in history. Her 60 years on the throne is only exceeded by Victoria, and her reign has coincided, of course, with photography, film and...

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First ever exhibition of a lost prince

One of the earliest known autopsy reports will go on display in a exhibition this autumn. The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart at the National Portrait Gallery will look at the extraordinary, albeit short, life of the eldest son of...

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Gillian Wearing, Whitechapel Gallery

The first major retrospective of the videos, photographs and sculptures of Gillian Wearing is a deeply disturbing experience. Her videos can be just a few minutes, or as long as an hour, but are not sequential narratives. They can be dipped in and...

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Johan Zoffany: Society Observed, Royal Academy

Royal families and royal academies. Aristocrats at ease in exquisitely landscaped gardens or inside in gorgeous drawings rooms. Actors emoting, notably Sir David Garrick and his troupe. Nabobs in India. All are depicted in Johan Zoffany’s rivetingly...

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Lucian Freud: Painted Life, BBC Two

He was uncompromising, honest, personal. He didn't like doing what he was told. He never followed fashion. Is this an accurate picture of Lucian Freud, or is it a description of almost every great artist who ever lived? The intensely banal voiceover...

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