Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London

As the National Portrait Gallery, London undergoes its most comprehensive renovation in 125 years, Australia’s art lovers are in for a treat as we take care and display of over 80 treasures from their collection.

The London gallery holds the world’s most extensive collection of portraits and as such Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery is delighted to run with this theme and showcase a huge range of well known faces, stories and artists, from the 16th century to today’s popular culture icons.

Malala Yousafzai, 2018 Shirin Neshat

As part of your experience you can watch NPG staff speaking on their favourite works of art. Working in the digital department of the gallery, Robert admires the sculptural portrait of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Lucie speaks about the portrait of Mary Neville and Gregory Fiennes painted in 1559 which is the oldest work in the show and Kate is moved by the unrequited love story of Sir Walter Raleigh. For a longer educational format, listen to Curator Joanna Gilmour in conversation about the exhibition and works of note.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, 2015 Sean Henry

Of course we have the famous faces but one must not overlook the artists behind the creation as there are some ‘big names’ in there too; Marlene Dumas paints Amy Winehouse, Shirin Neshat depicts Malala Yousafzai, Andy Warhol showcases Joan Collins, John Constable and David Hockney and Lucian Freud opt for a self-portrait among many other incredible renderings.  

Amy Winehouse (‘Amy-Blue’), Marlene Dumas, 2011

You’ll also spot Charles Darwin, Emily Dickens, the Beatles, Brontë sisters, David Beckham, Nelson Mandela, David Bowie and Ed Sheeran in a line-up that aims to explore fame, power, love, loss, innovation and inspirational lives and legacies.

Until Sunday 17 July at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.