Buckingham Palace Masterpieces will bring together more than 30 spectacular works by artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Claude, Artemisia Gentileschi and Van Dyck which will be appreciated closely by the public in Edinburgh from March 2022.
The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to revisit these world-famous paintings in a modern gallery setting, away from the historic interior of the Buckingham Palace Photo Gallery, where they can usually be seen as part of the opening annual summer of the State Rooms. .
The paintings will be classified by school, starting with a group of paintings created in Italy between 1530 and 1660, comprising both figurative subjects and landscapes. Several Italian works feature idealized female figures derived from the study of ancient sculpture. These include Cleopatra with the Asp by Guido Reni, 1628, and Pallas Athene by Parmigianino, 1535.
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Two atmospheric landscapes painted in Italy will be exhibited for the first time in Scotland with A View of the Countryside from Tivoli by Claude Lorrain, 1645 and Seascape with Jonas and the Whale, 1653-1654 by Gaspard Dughet forming part of the collection.
The exhibition will also contain a series of works created in the Netherlands between 1630 and 1680, the height of the so-called Dutch Golden Age. Scenes from everyday life, such as the carefree card game depicted in Cardplayers in a Sunlit Room by Pieter de Hooch, 1658, are imbued with startling realism thanks to the mastery of perspective, color and detail of the artists.
Artists from the Netherlands have also produced works belonging to the more traditionally prestigious branches of art, such as narrative paintings and ambitious landscapes, often on a larger scale.
The subjects of the Dutch and Flemish portraits exude character and vitality, often achieved through the innovative manipulation of paint by artists. In A Rabbi with a Rembrandt Cap, 1635, one of the artist’s four works in the exhibition, Rembrandt uses the tip of his brush to draw fine lines in the wet paint, evoking the wispy beard of the aging man.
More than two-thirds of the paintings in the exhibition were acquired by George IV, one of history’s most extravagant monarchs and a prolific art collector. 2022 will mark the bicentenary of George IV’s visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 1822. It was the first visit by a monarch reigning Scotland for almost two centuries and involved elaborate contests hosted by Sir Walter Scott. A series of conferences and activities will take place at the Palais in August 2022 to bring this extraordinary event to life for visitors.
The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world and one of the last major European royal collections to remain intact. It includes almost all aspects of fine and decorative arts and is spread among around fifteen royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public.
Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace is at the Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, from March 25 to September 25, 2022.