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Canberra Today 20°/23° | Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

London to share its best portraits with Canberra

A section of “The Bronte Sisters” by Patrick Bronte.

“SHAKESPEARE to Winehouse” is the catchy name of a new 80-strong exhibition bound for Canberra from the National Portrait Gallery London in March.

As the title suggests, portraits from Shakespeare to Winehouse, the Beatles to Beckham, Diana, Dickens and Darwin – see, they don’t need two names – will be showing  at the Australian National Portrait Gallery while the London  gallery undertakes the largest refurbishment of its building since 1896.

Many of the works rarely, if ever, leave the gallery’s walls and other famous faces to be viewed will be Queen Elizabeth I and Nelson Mandela, as well as artists including Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Shirin Neshat.

Karen Quinlan, director of the NPG, says: “The majority of these portraits have never been seen in Australia before…This is a broad-sweeping snapshot of portraiture, and the variety of methods used by artists to convey identity is a thread that runs throughout.”

Amy Winehouse by Marlene Dumas.

Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, Nicholas Cullinan,  says, said: “The exhibition offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see a selection of the gallery’s most cherished portraits together internationally.”

Rather than a chronological display, works are grouped into six interrelated themes of Fame, Power, Love and Loss, Identity, Innovation and Self Portraits.

Highlights include:

Portraits of era-defining identities including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, the Queen, Isaac Newton, and King Henry VIII.

Embodiment  of British culture: from the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens and Beatrix Potter to David Bowie, Mick Jagger and The Beatles;

It will include works by artists such as David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud, Peter Paul Rubens, Auguste Rodin, Tracey Emin, Lord Snowdon and Shirin Neshat.

Images of contemporary celebrities such as David Beckham, Ed Sheeran, Malala Yousafzai, Kate Moss, Anna Wintour, Princess Diana and Vivienne Westwood;

William Shakespeare, by John Taylor.

And works of historical importance, including Anthony van Dyck’s last self-portrait, a painting of Queen Elizabeth I created in 1575 and a portrait of William Shakespeare – NPG London’s first acquisition – which is the only picture of the Bard believed to have been made from life.

“Shakespeare to Winehouse”, National Portrait Gallery, March 12-July 17.




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Helen Musa

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