Poetry of Motion

Past display archive
27 June 2012 - 8 January 2013

Room 37 and 37a


The particular ways in which artists have sought to depict figures who, in their professional lives, are associated with activity and motion are intriguing. Taking the leitmotif of the moving body as its point of departure, Poetry of Motion includes some of the most ambitious works from the Contemporary Collection: of athletes and Olympians, dancers and choreographers; subjects whose dynamism frequently inspires artists to experiment with new forms or new media. Traditional painted, sculpted and photographic works operate as monuments that testify the strength and form of these elite bodies. Taking a different approach, other artists have incorporated a lightness of touch or non-conventional pose as a way of capturing something of the grace and vigour of their subjects.

© National Portrait Gallery, London