The works on display capture a host of interesting characters, from courtiers and dandies to modern day celebrities.

Anthony van Dyck's enigmatic self-portrait – which was bought by the National Portrait Gallery following by a public appeal supported by Art Fund – forms the crux of an exhibition examining themes of male identity and sexuality, as presented through the lens of portraiture.

Featuring works from the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Portrait Gallery, the show begins by examining the elaborate fashions of 16th and 17th century courtiers, whose decadent outfits were often coded with symbolic meaning, before exploring the emergence of the dandy in the early 18th century.

The journey continues with an exploration of notions of ‘celebrity’ and newer expressions of male sexuality, as seen in Robert Mapplethorpe’s intimate black and white photographs and Lucian Freud’s painted nudes.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 1JD

0131 624 6200


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm. (6pm during August). Open from noon on 1 Jan. Closed 25 – 26 Dec.

Free to all

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