Home » Exhibitions » Portrait of the Artist at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace – 4th November 2016 to 17th April 2017

Portrait of the Artist at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace – 4th November 2016 to 17th April 2017


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Artemisia Gentileschi, “Self-portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura), c. 1638-9.
Royal Collection Trust / ©  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Portrait of an Artist at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, is the first exhibition to present self-portrait images of artists from within the Royal Collection.

Examining “creative genius” through more than 150 paintings, drawings, prints photographs and decorative arts, it shows some of the most important artists’ portraits owned by the monarch, including self-portraits by Daniel Mytens (c.1630), Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1623), a portrait of his former assistant Anthony van Dyck (c.1627-8), portraits by Rembrandt, Artemisia Gentileschi, Lucian Freud and David Hockney, and images of artists painted their friends,  relatives and pupils, including the surviving likeness of a chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci by his student, Francesco Melzi, to the recent conservation of the 17th-century allegorical Dutch painting titled “A Vanitas” by Pieter Gerritsz. van Roestraten (c.1630-1700), which previously hidden below a layer of varnish reveals a startling new dramatic element to the picture – a self-portrait of the artist at his easel painted as a reflection on a glass sphere.

Royal Collection

Pieter Gerritsz. van Roestraten, “A Vanitas”, c.1666-1700
Royal Collection Trust / ©  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The self-portraits, which were as a general rule intended to  “advertise” the artist’s talents are juxtaposed alongside more intimate and personal works examines themes, from the ‘cult’ of the artist to the symbolism  evoked through images of the artist’s studio. 

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Attributed to Francesco Melzi, Leonardo da Vinci, c.1515-18
Royal Collection Trust / ©  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The changing status of the artist from the 16th century to the role of the skilled artisan and medieval tradesmen’s guilds, replaced by workshops run by a masters and art academies recorded in the artists new literary artists’ biographies, such as Giorgio Vasari’s “Delle vite de’ piu eccellenti pittori scultori et architettori” (1568), which described the lives of over 150 artists are explored as is the relationship between artist and patron and role of patronage through monarchs commissioning, collecting and displaying portraits of artists.


Jean-E‰tienne Liotard, A Self-Portrait, c.1753
Royal Collection Trust / ©  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Royal Collection exhibition features 150 objects, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts ranging in date from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century runs from Friday 4 November 2016 -Monday 17 April 2017.

Opening times

10.00-17.30. Last admission 16.15. 


Adult £10.30. Concession £9.40. Under 17/Disabled £5.30. Under 5 Free.

Contributor : Pippa Jane Wielgos

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

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