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Portrait of the Artist

Banner for Portrait of the Artist Exhibition

The first exhibition to focus on images of artists from within the Royal Collection, Portrait of the Artist not only showcases self-portraits by world-renowned artists including Rembrandt, Rubens, Artemisia Gentileschi, Lucian Freud and David Hockney but also features images of artists by their friends, relatives and pupils, including the most reliable surviving likeness of Leonardo da Vinci by his student, Francesco Melzi. Well-known self-portraits intended to advertise the artist's talents are shown alongside more intimate and personal works.

The exhibition examines a range of themes played out within these objects, from the 'cult' of the artist to the symbolism evoked through images of the artist’s studio. The changing status of the artist over the centuries is another theme and the way in which this is conveyed, both in the physical works and in the relationships between artist and patron is highlighted. The role of monarchs in commissioning, collecting and displaying portraits of artists is discussed. 

Portrait of the Artist contains over 300 objects, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts ranging in date from the 15th to the 21st century.


Highlight objects

Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593-Naples 1652)

Self-portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura)

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640)

Portrait of the Artist

Attributed to Francesco Melzi (1493-1570)

Leonardo da Vinci

Events programme

Schools sessions

Key stages 2, 3, 4 & 5
Creative Writing workshop

Learn about inspiring Creative Writing from works of art

Key stage 2, 3 & 4
Learning to look at Portraits

Learn how to look at an historical image and analyse the clues and narratives portrayed

Key stage 2, 3 & 4
The art of sketchbooks

An artist led class looking at developing pupils' own skills and understanding of works in the exhibition

Map & directions

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA
By train

The nearest train stations are London Victoria (10 minute walk) or London Charing Cross (20 minute walk). 

Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By underground

The nearest tube stations are Victoria, Green Park, St. James's Park and Hyde Park Corner (all approximately 10 minutes walk).  

For further information visit the Transport for London website.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.  Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace.  

For further information visit the Transport for London website.