We're delighted that our Director, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, will be taking part in the 'Bridging the Gap' series of talks run by charity Speakers for Schools.

The series brings together 35 leading figures in public life from diverse backgrounds to deliver individual talks in state schools and colleges across the UK, with the aim of inspiring and empowering students to reach their full...
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Opening next week - Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the mask, another mask (9 March – 29 May 2017) brings together the work of two artists born seventy years apart but both fascinated with the self-portrait and ideas of identity, gender, masquerade and performance.

Find out more and book here: [ Ow.ly Link ]

Image: Studies for a keepsake by Claude Cahun, c.1925. Musée d’Art moderne...
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Simon Russell Beale narrates the Choral Audio Guide, a unique soundtrack to five centuries of portraits. Find out more and download the Guide here: [ Ow.ly Link ]
"I conclude that there is as much sense in nonsense as there is nonsense in sense."

Today marks one hundred years since the birth of Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange. Join us at Late Shift this Thursday, where writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades will be leading centenary celebrations, in conversation with biographer Andrew Biswell.

In Conversation: Anthony Burgess at 100: Jonathan Meades - National Portrait Gallery

Why would someone make a self-portrait? Artist Marcus Coates finds out what the people of East Finchley make of Van Dyck's final self-portrait.

This is the latest in our series of artists' films created as part of the self-portrait's nationwide tour. You can see Van Dyck on display at the Laing Gallery, Newcastle, part of their Modern Visionaries exhibition. Find out more here: [ Ow.ly Link ]
Last chance to cast your eye over the best in contemporary portraiture from around the world at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 - closes this Sunday: [ Ow.ly Link ]

Image: Heidi from the series The Lover's Eye by Alexia Sinclair, April 2015
Next Thursday: from Rosalind Franklin to Dorothy Hodgkin, Rivka Isaacson explores the work of pioneering female structural biologists in our Collection [ Ow.ly Link ]
George Frideric Handel was born in Saxony on this day in 1685. He moved to London in 1712, where he worked for the court of his old master, George I. Over the next fifty years, Handel poured out opera, oratorios and concertos and his Messiah became a national institution within his lifetime.

See this portrait of the great composer on display in our eighteenth century galleries: [ Ow.ly Link ]
This is one of a number of studies by Graham Sutherland for a portrait commissioned by Parliament to mark Winston Churchill's eightieth birthday. When the sittings began, Churchill asked the artist 'How are you going to paint me? As a cherub, or the Bulldog?'. Sutherland replied that 'it entirely depends on what you show me, sir'. The final, controversial portrait, which Churchill said made...
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"You always feel that you are the mask to some degree."

To mark the opening of her new exhibition at the Gallery, artist Gillian Wearing will be in conversation with our Contemporary Curator Sarah Howgate at Late Shift next month. Find out more and book tickets here: [ Ow.ly Link ]

Self-Portrait of Me Now in Mask by Gillian Wearing, 2011.
Collection of Mario Testino © Gillian Wearing,...
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The people have spoken! This year, for the first time, visitors to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize voted for their favourite portrait in the exhibition.

We are delighted to reveal that the winner of the People's Pick is Frances by Josh Redman, receiving over 600 votes. See it for yourself at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016, closing this Sunday [ Ow.ly Link...
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Celebrated actor, playwright and theatre manager David Garrick was born in Hereford 300 years ago today. In this portrait painted by his close friend Joshua Reynolds, Garrick is shown with his wife Eva in the garden of their country house at Hampton in Middlesex. See it on display in our eighteenth century galleries: [ Ow.ly Link ]
"Had I been a man I might have explored the Poles or climbed Mount Everest, but as it was my spirit found outlet in the air." Amy Johnson

Our new Spotlight display celebrates the achievements of Britain's pioneering women aviators: [ Ow.ly Link ]
Photographer Katie Barlow spent two weeks at Katia Beach on the island of Lesvos, Greece, where United Nations buses waited to transport refugees to local camps.

"Finding it hard to film and photograph people in distress and feeling the need to help the refugees off the boats and to change sodden clothes instead of document, I found myself waiting until people were safe and dry before taking...
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Refugee portraits selected for Taylor Wessing Photography Prize

Today we announce details of our summer exhibition, The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt (13 July – 22 October). Celebrating the moment of creative connection between artist and sitter, the exhibition will feature 50 drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including da Vinci, Holbein, Rubens and Rembrandt.

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Which objects from our Collection would you put in Museum 101? Though not currently on display, perhaps it's Marc Quinn's Self, a self-portrait made from eight pints of the artist's blood?

Quinn describes the portrait as a 'frozen moment on lifesupport'. Find out more about it here: [ Ow.ly Link ]

13 Creepy AF Items Spotted In Museums That Should Be Put in Room 101

Happy Valentine's Day! This portrait of a cosy couple was taken by 'the father of art photography', Oscar Gustav Rejlander. Born in Sweden in 1813, Rejlander later moved to Wolverhampton, where he established a photographic studio in the 1840s. Best known for his pioneering technique combining multiple negatives to create new, artificial compositions, he was also a portraitist of extraordinary...
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Glamorous and charismatic, artist Natalie Bevan was one of the 1960s' most renowned hostesses, especially in the artistic circles which frequented Boxted House.

Meet more fabulous hosts, guests and gossips with our new Gallery Party Trail. Pick up a copy of the tour on your next visit: [ Ow.ly Link ]
"It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

Naturalist Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury on this day in 1809. [ Ow.ly Link ]
2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual behaviour in England and Wales. In commemoration of this landmark moment, we are launching I Am Me - a year-long season of displays and events examining issues of representation, gender and sexuality and the ways in which art and portraiture explore and question ideas about identity.

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