The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt

National Portrait Gallery

13 July – 22 October 2017

£4 with National Art Pass (standard entry £8)

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The gallery's first ever exhibition of old master European portrait drawings explores the creative encounter that takes place between artists and sitters.

Hans Holbein the Younger, Black Cap, c.1535

Part of the gallery's ongoing investigation into the practice and process of portrait making, the exhibition features 50 drawings that capture a moment of connection between an artist and their sitter. 

The impressive display includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, Rubens and Rembrandt and Holbein whose subjects range from an emperor's chaplain to a nurse, a king's clerk to a shoemaker. These artists were inspired to move away from the use of medieval pattern-books as source materials, and instead draw directly from life. The resulting portraits are both captivating and intimate.

Included are many rarely-seen works which, owing to their sensitivity to light, cannot be put on regular display. Shown alongside the portraits are examples of the drawing tools and media that were used to create them – such as metalpoint and coloured chalks.

Don't miss

The exhibition provides a chance to see Albrecht Dürer's preparatory drawing for a lost portrait of Henry Parker, Lord Morley, who was sent to Nuremberg as an ambassador to King Henry VIII. 

Venue information

Opening times

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm
Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)