mon 20/01/2020

National Portrait Gallery

Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, National Portrait Gallery

Do we need more? Over the past 60 years thousands of books and bibliographies about Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and the group of friends, lovers, spouses, partners, children, and houses with which she is associated, have been published, not to...

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The Great War in Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Telling a story through an exhibition can be a bad idea, partly because it seems a little pedestrian but mainly because it runs the risk of using art as illustration, glibly treating paintings as if they were objective visual records. In its title,...

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Bailey's Stardust, National Portrait Gallery

Several hundred photographs, of varying scales and most of them newly printed gelatin silver prints in superb tones of greys blacks and whites, take us into a world that has been subliminally familiar to us for nearly 50 years.Stardust is the title...

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013, National Portrait Gallery

The precise nature of the photographic portrait has always been contested, and this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize only fuels the debate. While historically photographers have questioned the portrait’s ability to go beyond physical fact to reveal a...

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Elizabeth I and Her People, National Portrait Gallery

At the beginning of the 17th century an anonymous Anglo-Netherlandish artist produced an elaborate procession portrait of the septuagenarian Virgin Queen, tactfully portrayed as though several decades younger, when she had succeeded to the throne in...

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Jonathan Yeo Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Grayson Perry is sitting pretty amid a swathe of soft-focus pink. Dressed as his alter ego Claire he sits on a pink bed with pink pillows, his pink ruched dress spread about him with its frilly underskirt on view. Placed on his lap are his...

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Laura Knight: Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Laura Knight’s wartime masterpiece Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-Ring (1943) is a subtly glamorous picture, strikingly composed. A frieze of blue-clad women at an armament factory workbench are in the background, highlighting the profiled figure of...

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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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Jacob Epstein: Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

“I don’t like the family Stein; There is Gert, there is Ep and there’s Ein; Gert’s Poems are bunk, Ep’s statues are punk, And nobody understands Ein” (Anon).Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) did indeed sculpt Albert Einstein when the physicist was briefly...

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George Catlin: American Indian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Scores of reddish-bronze skinned men, and a few women and children, in full regalia, festooned in face paint, feathers, jewellery and decorations of all kind. They stare out at us, impassive and imperturbable, immortalised by George Catlin (1796-...

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Man Ray Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Travelling through Canada by train – more decades ago than I care to divulge here – I bought a book of Man Ray photographs at Banff in the heart of the Rockies. I spent the rest of the journey with one eye on the majestic mountains, and the other...

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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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