sun 14/02/2016

portraits

YZ Kami, Gagosian Gallery

The Iranian-born New York resident painter YZ Kami, now in his mid-fifties, continually plays with our hunger to look at “reality” while being seduced by abstraction and repetition. In 17 canvases, painted over the past two years, Kami explores two...

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Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, National Portrait Gallery

One masterpiece and two superb portraits both dominate and sum up in vivid fashion the complex personality, long life and astonishing trajectory of the first Duke of WellingtonThere were something like 200 portraits done in his lifetime. The...

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Joshua Reynolds, Wallace Collection

The grand but domestic setting of Hertford House, home of the Wallace Collection, makes a fitting backdrop to an exhibition of paintings by Joshua Reynolds. The Marquesses of Hertford acquired some 25 paintings by Reynolds in the artist's lifetime,...

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Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, National Portrait Gallery

Oh, Dr Pozzi! This gorgeous man is garbed in a red wool, full-length robe, almost completely obscuring his elegantly gleaming white shirt. The shirt collar frames his face, casting light, and its frilled cuffs emphasise his improbably long-fingered...

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Self: Image and Identity, Turner Contemporary

It seems only right that Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s last Self-portrait, 1640-1 (pictured below right), saved for the nation last year as a result of a very public campaign, should now embark on a tour of the country as much in recognition of the 10,000...

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014, National Portrait Gallery

It is hard to know whether the thematic and stylistic threads running through this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize are evidence of some general shift in approach, or simply reflect the judges’ tastes. In any case, where last year’s shortlist featured...

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Giovanni Battista Moroni, Royal Academy

Written in the 16th century, Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists continues to underpin our understanding of the Renaissance, and its author is blamed, often with some justification, for a multitude of art historical anomalies. But there can be...

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Schama on Rembrandt: Masterpieces of the Late Years, BBC Two

The chatty, loquacious, exuberant Simon Schama, whose seminal 1987 book on Holland in the 17th century, The Embarrassment of Riches, transformed the anglophone’s understanding of the Dutch Republic, describes himself as historian, writer, art critic...

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Tony Blair by Alastair Adams

“Repellent” is one word I’ve heard to describe Alastair Adams’ new portrait of Tony Blair, but I don’t know if that’s a reaction to the painting or the subject. In either case, I can’t say I share that gut-reaction. Most of the portraits in the...

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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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