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Room 16 at the National Portrait Gallery

Simon Schama's Face of Britain: The Face of Power

The powerful have a very particular sense of how they want to be represented - their public lives depend on it. The face of power is one of the most dramatic types of portraiture because there is usually a tension between the sitter's self-image, the artist's desire to create great art and the purpose of the portrait. Portraits of the powerful range from officially-commissioned images that serve as visual propaganda to satire that undermines the very power it portrays. In between, there are some surprisingly intimate and affecting images that reveal the human side to power.

More about the exhibition

116 portraits on display in Room 16 at the National Portrait Gallery