PREVIEW: Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard & Oliver, National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery’s upcoming exhibition will highlight the work of Hilliard and Oliver.  

Anne of Denmark by Isaac Oliver, c. 1612, Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 1957 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

On display from the 21st February, Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver will be the first major display concentrating on Tudor and Jacobean miniatures in thirty five years.

As well as bringing together key works from the National Portrait Gallery’s own collection, the display will present major loans from public and private collections to highlight the work of  Nicholas Hilliard and French born Isaac Oliver.

The exhibition will explore what these miniatures reveal about life in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as seen through the eyes of two artists who were compared by their contemporaries to Michelangelo and Raphael.

With miniatures being considered an art form that the English were particularly good at, this exhibition will use a selection of the images created by the artists to attempt to understand more about  identity, society and visual culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England during the period.

Part of the exhibition will concentrate on both artist’s portraits of Elizabeth I  as well as images of James I, his wife Anne of Denmark and his three children Henry, Elizabeth and Charles (later Charles I). These will be displayed alongside miniatures of famous figures of the day including Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake.

Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 21st February.

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