The National Portrait Gallery have confirmed that it will be staging its first exhibition of old master European portrait drawings this summer. 

Young Woman in a French Hood, possibly Mary Zouch by Hans Holbein the younger c.1533. (c) Royal Collection Trust, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2017.

Titled The Encounter:Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt , the exhibition will include many works created by masters of the Renaissance and Baroque such as Albrecht Dürer, Anthony Van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens and Leonardo da Vinci.

This summer exhibition will focus on the creative encounter between artists and sitters featuring works held in many British collections.

Those lending work for the exhibition includes the Royal Collection Trust, The British Museum, Chatsworth, Senate House Library, Scottish National Gallery, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UCL Art Museum, V&A, Ashmolean Museum and The Courtauld Gallery.

The concept for the exhibition came as a result of the gallery’s continued interest in exploring practises of making portraits through a variety of media throughout history.

Talking about the news Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery said: “While our Collection includes Holbein’s magnificent and monumental ink and watercolour drawing of Henry VII and Henry VIII from c.1536–7, remarkably, the National Portrait Gallery has never staged an exhibition devoted to the practice of portrait drawing during the European Renaissance. While the sitters’ identities are often unknown, their encounters with the artist are preserved in drawings that vividly demonstrate the creative moment that lies at the heart of many of the greatest portraits.”

Highlights of the exhibition will include five drawings lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, including eight portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger; a group of drawings produced in the Carracci studio from Chatsworth; and the British Museum’s preparatory drawing by Albrecht Dürer for a lost portrait of Henry Parker, Lord Morley, who had been sent to Nuremberg as ambassador to King Henry VIII.

The Encounter will bring together fifty drawings in total to reveal how drawings can capture a moment of connection between artist and sitter, with many of the works having been rarely seen in public and others not displayed for decades.

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 13th July until the 22nd October. For more information and to book tickets visit: