The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Spotlight: December 2016 - February 2017

Past display archive
12 December 2016 - 13 February 2017

Room 31


Photographing Picasso

Renowned as one of the twentieth century’s most prolific and influential artists, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was also one of the most photographed. Born in Spain, he spent most of his life in France and gained fame and recognition early in his career, particularly as a co-founder of the Cubist movement. His celebrity was also fuelled by the countless photographs in circulation that documented his life and work.

Portraits by notable photographers such as Bill Brandt and Cecil Beaton, as shown here, have ensured that Picasso’s likeness and lively character became and remain universally recognised. Brandt and Beaton’s descriptions of their experiences of photographing Picasso emphasise the sense of occasion felt at meeting an artist of his importance and provide added glimpses into Picasso’s life and personality.

This Spotlight display coincides with the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Picasso Portraits (until 5 February 2017).

Photographs Collection: Display

Previous Spotlight displays


Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs

Test your memory by playing our matching pairs game. Three levels of difficulty make it fun for the whole family.

Test your skill

Regency familiar faces

Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.

Play today

Who do you think you were?

Answer a few lifestyle questions about the Elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!

Start now