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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gladiators (Norm Provan and Arthur Summons)

Who's that?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond discusses the iconic picture of two Rugby League players which became known as 'The Gladiators'.

Self portrait, c.1900

Reflection

Magazine article by Michael Rosen, 2013

British novelist and poet, Michael Rosen, weaves a tale about his early encounters with creativity and the self-portrait of a childhood friend.

Homework, 2014
 Michael Zavros

Observation point

Magazine article by Michael Zavros, 2017

Michael Zavros on when a portrait is not really a portrait.

Study for self-portrait, 1963

Inside outside

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond explores the portraiture of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.

One hundred days at 7pm 2015 by Fiona McMonagle

Self-effacing

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell samples the fare in the University of Queensland National Self-portrait Prize.

The hunting lodge, 2007

Seduce Amuse Entertain

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond profiles a handful of the entrants in first National Photographic Portrait Prize and notes emerging themes and categories.

Damon, singer, 2000 by Julian Opie

Movement is my radar

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2015

Michael Desmond charts the path of portraiture, arriving at Julian Opie’s digital realm.

Lauren in Red, 2003

Is the truth of portraiture vested exclusively in likeness?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

Curator Michael Desmond introduces the exhibition Truth and Likeness, an investigation of the importance of likeness to portraiture.

Facing Australia, Composite portrait: Facing St Lucia, 2003

Conflicting images

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond reveals the origins of composite portraits and their evolution in the pursuit of the ideal.

Michael Wardell – Country of birth: Ireland 2014 by Jacques van der Merwe

Look who's coming to dinner

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell’s personal insight into Jacques van der Merwe’s New Arrivals.

Vanity Fair, April, 2004

International issue

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond looks at the history of the Vanity Fair magazine in conjunction with the exhibition Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008

Staffordshire bull terrier belonging to the Rev. John Gower, 1851

Essential portraiture

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond in conversation with University of Houston professor of philosophy Cynthia Freeland.

Lucy, 2001

Technical terminology

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond introduces some of the ideas behind the exhibition Present Tense: An imagined grammar of portraiture in the digital age.

ORA - Homesickness Project 2015 by Chrys Zantis

Food for thought

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell on Chrys Zantis’ Ora.

Dr Peter Farrell

Giving and getting

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

The exhibition Portraits for Posterity celebrates gifts to the Gallery, of purchases made with donated funds, and testifies to the generosity and community spirit of Australians.

Tracey

Sophisticated and glamorous

Magazine article by Amanda Rowell, 2015

Michael Riley’s early portraits by Amanda Rowell.

Michael Leunig

The Philosophy of Teapots and Ducks

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

Cartoonist Michael Leunig's insights into the human condition and current affairs have become famous Australia-wide.

Elizabeth (Murray) 2000

Extremely generous and incredibly close

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the daguerreotype portraits created by American artist Chuck Close.

Guns and roses, 2006

Obey

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond investigates the street art of Shepard Fairey, who was catapulted to fame during the 2008 presidential election with his resonant image of Barack Obama.

Martin Schoeller 2008

The God-shaped hole

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Exploring the photographs of Martin Schoeller, Michael Desmond delves into the uneasy pact that exists between celebrity and the camera.

Potters' Portrait Pot

Of human clay

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

The first collaborative commission has arrived. It's a self portrait, it's ceramic and it's from Hermannsburg.

Frame from Self portrait, 2008

I walk the line

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Bruce Petty's animated self portrait captures a life's journey compressed into a few minutes.

Portrait of a Man (Fred Williams), 1958

Head, hand, heart

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

An extensive selection of portraits by John Brack were on display at the National Portrait Gallery in late 2007.

Alexander Pearce
executed for murder
July 19th 1824

Public hanging

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

As a convict Thomas Bock was required to sketch executed murders for science; as a free man, fashionable society portraits.

Self Portrait with fruit, 2004

Tender tragedies

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

George Foxhill's self portraits were the subject of a small focus display at the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835

Black and white history

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

English artist Benjamin Duterrau took up the cause of the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania with his detailed and sympathetic renderings.

Neil Murray

True fella

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond profiles the Australian songwriter and performer Neil Murray and his contribution to Australian music.

Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz

Where the wild things are

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the complex portrait of Dr Bob Brown by Harold 'The Kangaroo' Thornton.

Edward Paine Butler

Poison pen

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the career of the eighteenth-century suspected poisoner and portrait artist Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.

Nicole Kidman, New York

Penn on paper

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond discusses Irving Penn's photographic portrait of Nicole Kidman.

Irina Baronova (handing on the baton)

Handing on the baton

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the life of ballerina Irina Baranova through the portrait by Australian artist Jenny Sages.

Senator Bonner

Black tie or wombat: How formal should I go?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond discusses the portrait of Senator Neville Bonner by Robert Campbell Jnr.

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie

Sure thing

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie 1887 by Frederick Woodhouse Snr. is a portrait of James Scobie, well known jockey and eminent horse trainer.

Frank Fenner AC CMG MBE

The highest honour

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Bringing eminent scientist Frank Fenner and artist Jude Rae together for the National Portrait Gallery commission was like matchmaking.

The last of England 1855

Pre-Raphaelite Profile

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

In 2006 the National Portrait Gallery acquired a splendid portrait of Victoria's first governor, Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe by Thomas Woolner.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, 2006

The painter and the princess

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

Michael Desmond interviews Ralph Heimans about his portrait of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Bee Miles

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

Radical Restraint 
Justice Michael Kirby

Judicial portraits

Magazine article by Leslie Moran, 2007

Leslie Moran investigates the portraits of judges in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Clifton Pugh painting in the studio

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

Michael Kimmelman

Magazine article by Pamela Gray, 2002

Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times and author of Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere, presented the National Portrait Gallery Third Anniversary Lecture on 2 March 2002. He was generously brought to Australia by the Gordon Darling Foundation and Qantas.

Portrait 47

Spring/Summer 2014
Magazine

This issue features Michael Riley, TextaQueen, Thea Proctor, Jean Appleton, In the flesh, digital identity and more.

Portrait 44

Summer 2012/2013
Magazine

This issue features The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait, Nicholas Harding, Ingvar Kenne, Laura Moore, Michael Rosen and more.

Portrait 17

September - November 2005
Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features conservationists Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, Michael Leunig, legendary photographer Cecil Beaton and more.

Clive James

Golden Jubilee

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Polly Borland's photograph of The Queen was commissioned by Buckingham Palace as part of a series of high profile celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee.

Robert, Lindy, Grant

Face the music

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2005

Drawn from the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Face the Music explores the remarkable talents and achievements of Australian musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities associated with the music industry.

Portrait 54

Spring 2016
Magazine

Explore an Indian treasure trove, photography by Robert McFarlane and Nan Goldin, Michael Taylor's expressionist paintings, the Great War portraits, and more!

Nicole Kidman

9 lives of Karin Catt

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

Australian photographer Karin Catt has shot across the spectrum of celebrity, her subjects including rock stars, world leaders and actors.

Portrait 56

Autumn 2017
Magazine

Browse the history of the National Photographic Portrait Prize, Cayce Zavaglia's embroidered portraiture, and modern wedding photography!

Beach painting, 1966 by Michael Taylor

Living landscape

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2016

Gillian Raymond ponders landscapes as self-portraiture in Michael Taylor’s intimate expressionism.

Bob Ellis

Tribute

Bob Ellis
Magazine article, 2016

Bob Ellis (1942–2016) was a journalist, columnist, screenwriter, film director, playwright, speechwriter and critic.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Self portrait 1955

Portrait of the artist as a young man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the early life and career of John Brack.

Mick Molloy

A serious man

Magazine article by Alistair McGhie, 2010

Alistair McGhie discusses Andrew MacColl's portrait photograph of Australian comedian Mick Molloy.

Radical Restraint 
Justice Michael Kirby

A gift from the heart

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2003

Lauren Dalla examines the life of Basil Bressler, the art patron responsible for one of the NPG's most important bequests.

The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy)

Observation point

Magazine article by Ralph Heimans AM, 2018

As I prepared for my recent retrospective at Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark’s National Portrait Gallery, I was struck with the feeling of looking back at a visual diary of the past 30 years.

Layne Beachley

Everybody's heard about the bird

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Two professionals; Australian surfer Layne Beachley and photographer Petrina Hicks, combine their strengths to achieve a remarkable portrait.

Christos Tsiolkas

Intense identity

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Dr Chistopher Chapman discusses the portrait of Australian author Christos Tsiolkas taken by John Tsiavis.

Nancy Wake - The White Mouse

Capturing the Mouse

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

Nancy Wake AC (b. 1912), one of the most­ decorated women of World War 2, earned the name the 'White Mouse' for her maddening ability to evade the Gestapo.

Blue Easel with Jack Drawing, 1996-1999

The man behind the art

Magazine article by Giles Auty, 2002

Giles Auty introduces British painter John Wonnacott who will talk at the National Portrait Gallery on 2 November 2002.

Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s

Pin-ups

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2008

Christopher Chapman describes the art and life of Australian artist Richard Larter.

Scott Redford: Introducing
Reinhardt Dammn

Surfer artist rockstar

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Christopher Chapman talks with Scott Redford about his character Reinhardt Dammn.

Quentin Bryce

In bloom

Magazine article by Susi Muddiman, 2017

Susi Muddiman delights in Michael Zavros’ stunning portrait of the honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

Brown form with stripes, 1961

Figurative foundation

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the life and art of the Australian artist Janet Dawson.

MacKenzie family silhouette

All there in black and white

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

The National Portrait Gallery acquired a beguiling silhouette group portrait by Samuel Metford, an English artist who spent periods of his working life in America.

Mrs Jordan, 1762-1816

One and all

Magazine article by Niamh MacNally, 2007

The current exhibition of portraits at the National Gallery of Ireland Print Gallery investigates just how paper-thin ideas of likeness are.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012

Imagination

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow tells the story of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.

Captain W Kinghorne

The bright-eyed Mariner

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008
A new colonial portrait brings a zealous captain near.
Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)

Getting bare

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

How seven portraits within Bare reveal in a public portrait parts of the body and elements of life usually located in the private sphere.

Royal Solomon Islands Police Force recruits, Maranatha Hall, Honiara by Sean Davey

The art of peace

Magazine article by Sven Knudsen, 2018

Sean Davey captures the portrait of a nation renewed.

The Long Awaited, 2008 by Patricia Piccinini

In the flesh

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

An exhibition of humanness in ten themes by Penelope Grist.

Betty Bryant, c. 1939

The life of Bryant

Magazine article by Tenille Hands, 2018

Tenille Hands explores a portrait prize gifted to the National Screen and Sound Archive.

Professor Peter Doherty

Friends and Acquaintances

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr. Sarah Engledow discusses a collection of drawings and prints by the Victorian artist Rick Amor acquired in 2005.

Herb Wharton, Cunnamulla, Qld

Thousand mile stare

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

John Elliott talks about his photographic portrait practice, including his iconic image of Slim Dusty arm-in-arm with Dame Edna Everage.

[Self-portrait], 1996

Reveries

Magazine article by Helen Ennis, 2007

The exhibition Reveries: Photography and mortality is a powerful display which brings together images that depict the last phase of people's lives.

Leigh Bowery in Fur Coat

Hyperversity

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the larger-than-life Australian performance artist, Leigh Bowery.

Dorothy Porter

Beautiful bones

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Sarah Engledow reflects on the shared life and writing of Dorothy Porter and Andrea Goldsmith.

Vincent Brady leading anti Bicentenary Protest, Brisbane, 1987 Michael Aird

Activating the space

Magazine article by Sandra Phillips, 2020

Sandra Phillips on portraits of Indigenous activism from Cairns Art Gallery’s 2019 Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture exhibition.

 

Sir Sidney Kidman

The fat of the land

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) is inscribed in Australian legend as the ‘Cattle King’. 

Andrew Sachs (‘Manuel’)

Star signs

Magazine article by Barry York, 2018

Barry York charts the course from childhood request to autographed celebrity portrait anthology.

Me

Donated duo

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the gift of two striking paintings by the Australian artist Ken Done AM.

Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane

Natural born stiller

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist speaks to Robert McFarlane about shooting for the stars.

Mirka Mora

It's a Mora!

Magazine article by Tedi Bills, 2016

Select extracts from Mirka Mora's autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, provide rich accompaniment to recent Gallery acquisitions.  

Jessie Street

Australia’s great internationalists

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist explores the United Nations stories in the Gallery’s collection.

Self-Portrait, 1981 by Don Bachardy

Drawing inspiration

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2017

Christopher Chapman absorbs the gentle touch of Don Bachardy’s portraiture.

Portrait of Dr Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster

To the end of the earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

The portrait of Dr. Johann Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster from 1780, is one of the oldest in the NPG's collection.

Lola Montes

You beauty

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the fact and fictions surrounding the legendary life of Irish-born dancer Lola Montez.

Self portrait

Home truths

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Despite once expressing a limited interest in the self portrait, the idea of it has figured strongly in much of Tracey Moffatt's work and has done so in some of her most distinctive and compelling images.

Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis, 1997

The Vanity model

Magazine article by David Friend, 2009

Vanity Fair Editor David Friend describes how the rebirth of the magazine sated our desire for access into the lives of celebrities and set the standard for the new era of portrait photography.

Nannultera, a young cricketer of the Natives' Training Institution, Poonindie , 1854 John Michael Crossland

The catechist and the cricketer

Magazine article by Stephen Valambras Graham, 2021

Stephen Valambras Graham traverses the intriguing socio-political terrain behind two iconic First Nations portraits of the 1850s.

The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KGAK GCMG GCVO KBE QC, 2006 by Rick Amor

Prima facie

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow casts a judicious eye over portraits in the Victorian Bar’s Peter O’Callaghan QC Portrait Gallery.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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