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Making Discoveries : Dutch and Flemish Masterpieces

In 2016 we will launch a series of displays that delve deeper into four major artists in the Gallery’s collection: Van Dyck, Dou, Rubens and Rembrandt. Examining the lives and techniques of each artist, the series will celebrate the creative processes of these Dutch and Flemish masters. Each display will also draw connections with guest works from other institutions and private collections that have never been seen together before.

I am Van Dyck

12 Jan – 24 April 2016

"The Andy Warhol of 17th Century portraiture" -  ???? Guardian

Van Dyck's final self-portrait of c.1640, newly acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, will hang beside self-portraits by renowned contemporary artist Mark Wallinger, to explore different notions of self-portraiture. The display will also reveal new information on the Gallery’s best-known Van Dycks through X-Ray technology.

Rubens’ Ghost

26 April – 3 July 2016

Revealing the creative process and working methods of the Peter Paul Rubens, a life size X-ray of Venus, Mars and Cupid will reveal changes made during the painting of the artwork. The display will also consider Rubens' recycling of panels in other works, such as The Miracles of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Hagar in the Desert.

Dou in Harmony

5 July – 6 November 2016

Two of Gerrit Dou’s finest musical-themed paintings - Woman playing a Clavichord and A Young Lady Playing a Virginal - will hang together for the first time since 1665. Comparing these works will reveal Dou's varied approaches to the same subject, and his clever use of architectural space.

Am I Rembrandt?

Tues 8 Nov 2016 - 5 March 2017

The final display in the series explores how curators and conservators can tell whether paintings are authentic. Through X-rays and technical analysis, two paintings by Rembrandt - A Young Man, perhaps the Artist’s Son Titus of 1663, and the National Trust’s recently re-attributed Self-portrait wearing a White Feathered Bonnet - will demonstrate how stylistically different works can be attributed to the same artist.


Making Discoveries is supported by The Elizabeth Cayzer Charitable Trust and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation