The same but different – Hockney’s portraits

It’s quite an audacious project: 83 canvases of identical size, each portraying an individual looking at the viewer from the same chair with the same backdrop. If the artist were anyone other than David Hockney, it certainly would have bombed. As it is, while some portraits seem to capture the uniqueness of the sitter, they…

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Rembrandt’s unflinching portraits

The National Gallery presents a superb range of Rembrandt’s work for the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works (until 18 Jan 2015) which focuses on the artist’s last two decades. They include loans such as the enormous canvas, The Conspiracy of the Batavians (1661) from Sweden, measuring two by three meters and conceived as an even…

Neurosis of the new – Vienna in 1900

Forget Klimt’s lavish gold paintings, and think rather of Freud, neurosis and hysteria. That is what Vienna at the turn of the century reflected. In fact, as National Gallery director, Dr Nicholas Penny joked at the press opening of Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 (until 12 Jan 2014), there have seldom been…