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Exhibition Review: Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace at The Queen’s Gallery from 4 December 2020 to January 2022

The Queen’s Gallery in London presents a new exhibition that includes a series of stunning paintings recognised as among the highlights of the Royal Collection, the exhibition includes works by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Van Dyck and Canaletto. The exhibition entitled Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace brings together 65 of the most treasured paintings that usually hang in the Picture Gallery, one of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.

The exhibition gives visitors a unique opportunity to view these world-renowned paintings in a modern gallery setting, away from the interiors of Buckingham Palace, allowing visitors the chance to enjoy each painting close up.

The exhibition is organised by school, with groupings of Italian, Dutch and Flemish paintings. In the Dutch room there are a series of works created in the Low Countries between 1630 and 1680, during the Dutch Golden Age, includes Johannes Vermeer’s ‘The Music Lesson’, early 1660s; Gerrit Dou’s The Grocer’s Shop, 1672; A Woman at her Toilet, 1663, by Jan Steen; and Pieter de Hooch’s Cardplayers in a Sunlit Room, 1658. These depictions of everyday life are considered some of the finest works of the period with their remarkable detail and use of light and space

Artists from the Low Countries also produced works from the more traditional branches of art, such as narrative paintings, portraits and landscapes. The exhibition includes In Milkmaids with Cattle in a Landscape, c.1617–18, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, while working in Rubens’ studio in 1618–19, the young Sir Anthony van Dyck produced Christ Healing the Paralytic.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition are portraits by Dutch artists including Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals. Frans Hals’ Portrait of a Man, 1630, conveys a dynamic sense of movement, Rembrandt uses all his skills on his ‘The Shipbuilder and his Wife’, 1633 and Portrait of Agatha Bas, 1641.

The exhibition includes paintings created in Italy over a period of 200 years, landscapes range from Gaspard Dughet’s Seascape with Jonah and the Whale, c.1654, to Claude Lorrain’s Harbour Scene at Sunset, 1643. A series of work by Canaletto transports the viewer to the beauty of Venice.

Other Italian works include the more classical approaches of Guido Reni’s Cleopatra with the Asp, 1628, Parmigianino’s Pallas Athene, 1535, Titian’s Madonna and Child in a Landscape with Tobias and the Angel, c.1537, and Cristofano Allori’s Judith with the Head of Holofernes, 1613.

This fascinating exhibition been made possible by the removal of the paintings from the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace during the overhaul of the Palace’s essential services. It is perhaps a once in a lifetime chance of really getting close to some of the most remarkable paintings in the Royal Collection. The collection is quite eclectic which provides plenty of interest and the Dutch and Flemish paintings in particular offer a great insight into a period of great economic growth in the Low Countries.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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

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