Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review – The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt at the National Portrait Gallery from 13th July to 22nd October 2017

Exhibition Review – The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt at the National Portrait Gallery from 13th July to 22nd October 2017


The National Portrait Gallery presents its first exhibition of old master European portrait drawings, the exhibition entitled The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt (13 July – 22 October 2017), includes works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Annibale Carracci, François Clouet, Albrecht Dürer, Anthony Van Dyck, Benozzo Gozzoli, Hans Holbein the Younger, Antonio di Puccio Pisano (Pisanello), Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Francesco Salviati and Leonardo da Vinci. Many of the drawings have rarely seen in public, and some have been not displayed for decades.

The exhibition focuses on not only the artist’s skill but on the moment of connection between an artist and a sitter. Many of the drawings provide illustrations of people like the artist’s friends, pupils in the studio or faces from the street who were rarely the subject of paintings during this period.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include 15 drawings  lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, including eight portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger; a group of drawings produced in the Carracci studio from Chatsworth; and the British Museum’s preparatory drawing by Albrecht Dürer for a lost portrait of Henry Parker, Lord Morley, who had been sent to Nuremberg as ambassador to King Henry VIII.

The exhibition also includes a display of the types of drawing tools and media used from metalpoint to coloured chalks and show how artists moved away from medieval pattern-books to undertake their own study of the figure, and the face, from real life.


This intriguing exhibition provides a series of insights into how portrait drawings have a sense of spontaneity and honesty that allows the dynamic connection between the artist and sitter to be explored more fully.

The portraits from the Renaissance and Baroque periods allows the study the faces and expressions from the famous and not so famous sitters, whilst many of the drawings were not created for public show, they offer a genuine insight into the past.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Video review available here

If you would like to find out more about the exhibition, visit the National Portrait Gallery website here

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