Charles and Camilla tour reopened National Gallery

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have toured The National Gallery which has reopened after the four-week lockdown.

They were shown exhibitions of masterpieces by 17th century female artist Artemisia Gentileschi and Renaissance painter Titian.

Charles paused for several minutes in front of Artemisia’s Judith beheading Holofernes – which depicts a Biblical story of two women beheading a man with a sword.

The Prince of Wales and National Gallery director Dr Gabriele Finaldi
The Prince of Wales and National Gallery director Dr Gabriele Finaldi (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The prince also took an interest in Artemisia’s Susanna And The Elders which depicts a virtuous woman being leered over by two old men.

He let out a laugh when he was shown a painting of Artemisia’s hand.

They were given the tour by National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi and shared the space with dozens of tourists milling around.

Mr Finaldi said: “The Prince of Wales knew about Artemisia and has seen some of her paintings before. But he was really struck by the sheer power and drama of some of the paintings.

“He was struck by how extraordinarily involved Artemisia was in her subjects.”

Charles and Camilla at the National Gallery
Charles and Camilla at the National Gallery (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The duchess, in a blue dress, was quicker around the exhibition and at one stage returned to Charles and said “we are a bit behind”.

But she did pause in front of the words I Will Show Your Illustrious Lordship What a Woman Can Do! in huge letters in the wall – taken from Artemisia’s letter to a man in 1649.

Curator Letizia Treves said: “The Duchess was really taken by it and seemed struck by the words.”

After the 45-minute tour, Mr Finaldi added: “We are really pleased we have opened as soon as we possibly could.

The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to view the Artemisia and the Titian: Love Desire Death exhibitions
The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to view the Artemisia and the Titian: Love Desire Death exhibitions (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“It’s all about ensuring the paintings are there for people to enjoy after a difficult year for everyone.

“We are delighted to welcome our patron the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for coming and confirming how important this reopening is for everyone.”

They were joined on the tour by Charles’s cousin Lady Sarah Chatto.

The central London gallery is hosting the UK’s first major monographic exhibition of the work of Artemisia which first opened in October shortly before lockdown.

The Prince of Wales
Charles is patron of the National Gallery (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The popular tourist spot on Trafalgar Square has also brought together for the first time since the late 16th century Titian’s epic series of large-scale mythological paintings, known as the Poesie.

It is the first time the Titian’s have been on display together for 400 years.

The exhibition was only open for three days before the first lockdown.

The prince has been Patron of the National Gallery since 2017.

The duchess visited the National Gallery in July this year, when it reopened after the first lockdown.

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