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Painting Childhood: From Holbein to Freud

16 March – 16 June 2019

This celebration of children, childhood and innocence brings together some of the most iconic paintings, sketches and sculptures of children produced in the past 500 years.

Featuring stunning portraits, amusing scenes and touching ‘fancy pictures’, the exhibition will explore the creative process and the specific challenges posed by painting children: from how to capture the fleeting moments of youth, to how to encourage young subjects to sit still. It also delivers deep insight into the place of family within an artist’s life, and the ongoing tension between biography and creativity.

Addressing themes such as Royal portraiture, play and learning, we will present masterpieces by artists including Hans Holbein the Younger, Anthony Van Dyck,  Jan Steen, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Johan Zoffany, John Everett Millais, Stanley Spencer, Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud, and feature loans from the Royal Collection and the National Gallery, among others. Iconic paintings will be paired with their preparatory sketches, and subsequent works by other artists made after them in continuation of the artistic “conversations” that occurred throughout the centuries.

Frans Xaver Winterhalter, Kind Edward VII (1841-1910), When Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, 1846, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018