EDINBURGH.- To mark The Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the National Portrait Gallery stages an innovative touring exhibition bringing together 60 of the most remarkable and resonant images of Elizabeth II spanning the 60 years of her reign and some on public display for the first time. The Queen: Art and Image will tour to British venues before being shown in London, opening in Edinburgh in June, Belfast in October and Cardiff and London in 2012.
From Beaton and Leibovitz to Annigoni and Warhol, The Queen: Art and Image will be the most wide-ranging exhibition of images in different media devoted to a single royal sitter. Formal painted portraits, official photographs, media pictures, and powerful responses by contemporary artists will be shown in an exhibition which explores both traditional representations and works which extend the visual language of royal portraiture.
Documenting the changing nature of representations of the Monarch, the exhibition will show how images serve as a lens through which to view shifting perceptions of royalty. This perspective reflects changes in the social scene and historical context and the exhibition highlights important developments and events: from The Queens relationship with the press and the miners strike, to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the advent of new technology. This textured view of the period is supplemented by archival material from newspapers to film footage, from postage stamps to consumer ephemera.
Among the highlights from the works from life are Annigonis hugely popular life-size 1969 commission for the National Portrait Gallery, Lucian Freuds 2000-01 portrait from the Royal Collection and Justin Mortimers painting where The Queens head floats away from her body against a huge background of flat vibrant yellow. Among the exhibited photographers for whom The Queen sat are Annie Leibovitz, Dorothy Wilding and Cecil Beaton - including his iconic Westminster Abbey Coronation image - and Chris Levines highly unusual photograph from a 2004 sitting of The Queen with her eyes closed.
The Queen: Art and Image will show a significant selection of unofficial portraits of the British monarch from major 20th century artists including those of Gilbert and George, Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter as well as less formal portraits by such photographers as Eve Arnold, Patrick Lichfield and Lord Snowdon.
Collectively, the exhibition celebrates and explores the startling range of artistic creativity and media-derived imagery that The Queen has inspired. It also probes the relation of this imagery to a world of changing values during a reign that has engaged the attention of millions.
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: 'The Queen is the most portrayed person in British history, reflecting her long reign and also the respect and affection which is felt towards her. The Diamond Jubilee is a wonderful celebration and the National Portrait Gallery is very pleased to be sharing this exhibition with our other national partners in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.