wed 20/09/2017

portraits

The Best Exhibitions in London

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern ★★★ Rediscovering a forgotten genius of 20th century who was erased from history. Until 8 OctMatisse in the Studio, Royal Academy ★★★★ Intriguing insight into the artist's relationship with his possessions. Until 12...

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Final Portrait review - utterly convincing portrayal of an artist at work

I hate biopics about artists in which the portrayal of “genius” is hyped to the point where it becomes a ludicrous cliché. Although I appreciate that, as far as entertainment goes, seeing pigment brushed onto canvas is on a par with watching paint...

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The Encounter, National Portrait Gallery review - dazzlingly evocative drawings

As a line flows or falters, registering each slight change in pressure, pause, or occasional reworking, it seems to offer a glimpse into the mind of the artist at work. The line is the instrument of the artist’s eye, the often unpolished,...

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Portrait of the Artist, The Queen's Gallery

Born in Rome and taught by her artist father, Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652) led a colourfully energetic life. As an adolescent she was raped by her father’s assistant  – an episode which unusually, then as now, actually came to public trial...

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016, National Portrait Gallery

It’s that time of year again. The National Portrait Gallery exhibits the finalists in the annual Taylor Wessing Portrait prize. The judges have seen 4,303 photographs from 1,842 photographers and now show us 57.The imprimatur of the National...

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Picasso Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

There’s something familiar about those dark, piercing eyes, but the impenetrable, mask-like countenance of Picasso’s Self-Portrait with Palette, 1906, is ultimately unknowable. In fact, the painting serves as something of a rebuke: we think we know...

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First Person: Portrait of Britain

This exhibition includes one of my images, so I hesitated when I was asked to write about it – but I only hesitated for a moment. I have learned that if you are reluctant to promote your own work other people are even more inclined in that direction...

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William Eggleston Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

American photographer William Eggleston is famous for dedicating himself to colour photography at a time when it was still considered kitsch – acceptable for wedding and Christening photos, but not much else. The best known example of his embrace of...

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David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life, Royal Academy

The opening image of this new David Hockney exhibition – a sketchily painted portrait of a seated man, slumping heavily forward, his head buried in his hands – could be a portrait of Brexit despair. In fact it is Hockney’s portrait of his close...

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Painters' Paintings, National Gallery

The huge and gorgeous Titian, The Vendramin Family, c.1540-c.1560, displays a frieze of males of all ages, three or four generations – and an adorable lap dog held close by the youngest boy – in marvellously sumptuous costume. The painting is...

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Russia and the Arts, National Portrait Gallery

A good half of the portraits in Russia and the Arts are of figures without whom any conception of 19th century European culture would be incomplete. A felicitous subtitle, “The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky”, provides a natural, even easy point of...

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Paul Strand, Victoria & Albert Museum

Once you’ve seen him, you can’t forget him. Taken in 1951, Paul Strand’s black and white portrait of a French teenager sears itself onto your retina. He stares unflinchingly back, and looking into his eyes, you feel almost scalded by his exceptional...

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