Charles I: King and Collector

I you haven’t heard of this exhibition before, It is an exhibition by the Royal College of Arts combining some of the works of art that Charles I had collected during his reign as Monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1625 up to his execution 1649. After which all his works and possessions (from the beautiful works of art to the more ordinary objects such as dog collars) to cover the debts of the King and so these works of arts were scattered around the world. And so this is the first time in nearly 400years they have all been together as they were in his time.

The Exhibition itself was divided into 12 different rooms, each being a different theme and subject of the art and history of this collection. Here I will be picking out some of my favorites from each room as we went round:

Gallery I: Artists and Agents

Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). Charles I in Three Positions, 1635-36. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This was one of the highlights of the show, being it is the main poster image seen around the advertisements for the show
  • And the painting in person did not disappoint, it was truly wonderful to see such a great piece of work such as this in the flesh
  • I find it really is a great way to see the man as he was, like a sculpture you can almost see him in the three dimensional with these three positions. But it gives you more with the quality of the painting itself too as you get the great colour of life through this too.
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Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Self-Portrait, 1623. Oil on Panel. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This portrait really brings you closer to the artist as it shows all his features and by his own hand so showing a view he has of himself too
  • The realism is breath taking too with the shades to the eyes, strokes of the hair and light shadow his mustache creates, the slight shine to his lip and the ear is especially good with all the appropriate shaping and shading to it
  • Darkness shown around the face is great, really making the face pop
mesbeauxarts: “François Dieussart. Bust of Charles I. 1636. Marble. Arundel Castle. Arundel, West Sussex, UK. ”
François Dieussart (1600-1661). Charles I, 1636. Marble. The Duke of Norfolk Arundel Castle.
  • This is a wonderful sculpture for seeing the King in the three dimensional form, giving you more information and a real image of the man
  • My favourite part of this piece is the curls of his hair that really seem to have a life to them, like you could see them flowing if the wind caught them.
  • I also like the wrinkle to the collar as this makes you once again almost forget this is a solid object sculpted out of marble

Gallery II: Madrid and Mantua

Aphrodite (‘the crouching Venus’). Roman, Second Century AD. Marble. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This is another sculpture that I really like made from marble too, with a much older history to it that you can see in the more roman style of face and hair to a more recent sculpture
  • I like the realistic folds of the woman’s stomach as she crouches in her position, something you don’t see so much in the modern day images of a naked woman in media, but a far more realistic image for many women
  • The hair is also once again really lovely and eye catching, with great flow and detail to the strands
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Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Minerva Protects Pax from Mars (‘Peace and War’), 1629-30. Oil on Canvas. The National Gallery, London.
  • This is a really bold piece with so much life and action to it with your eyes being drawn to the girl whom is looking out to us in the audience
  • The skill throughout this painting is immaculate, you can even see (in person more) the milk from the woman’s breast shooting into the babies mouth which is so softly catching the light it is subtle, not i#even able to see here in this copy
  • There is so much life going on with the riches of gold and food being brought in, soldiers protecting in the background and figures dancing.

Gallery III: The Triumph of Caesar

Image result for Andrea Mantegna The Triumph of Caesar: The Trumpeters, c. 1485-1506.
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506). The Triumph of Caesar: The Trumpeters, c. 1485-1506. Tempera on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This room was really striking, filled with a series of these ‘Triumph of Caesar’ paintings depicting the scene around as they come into town after victory
  • It is quite mind blowing the amount of detail and work that has gone into even one of these very large sections of painting. And yet there are a series of nine of these overall, all which so much busy life to them
  • The story of the scene is really told through these paintings and especially walking round this exhibition

Gallery IV: The Northern Renaissance

Portrait of Robert Cheseman, Hans Holbein the Younger, Mauritsuis, Den Haag, Netherlands
Hans Holbein (1497-1543). The Younger Robert Cheseman, 1533. Oil on Panel. Mauritshuis, The Hague.
  • The faint lines and shades to the face make it really life like, with a strong gaze a look to his face accentuate with the lighting coming from the side
  • I really love the details on the bird, the feather being particularly realistic and the way is hand is posed next to its belly gives a great life to it as it looks as though mid-stroke
  • His clothing is also really well painted with lovely shading to the collar that gives it the great texture of fur and the light catching the creases of the sleeves
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Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1607). Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, 1566. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • I found this piece really interesting for its environment, the house is grande and really uniquely decorated with patterns covering the walls and some art around
  • The corridor is also eye catching with a tunnel of columns to a grande house in the background
  • The figures are small in the frame but seem lively as they all seem to be talking, busy with actions and tasks, each of them clothed with some lovely detailed and vibrant fabrics

Gallery V: The Italian Renaissance

Titian (1488-1576). The Supper at Emmaus c. 1534. Oil on Canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris, Department of Paintings.
  • The background to this painting is really lovely in detail and colour of the nature, the blues matching those of Christs clothes which give it a lovely framing
  • I find the serving boy really interesting in this piece as with his bright clothing he rather stands out and the clothes themselves are rather smart looking
  • The cloth on the table is also really lovely in this piece as it shows it is a piece of cloth that has been previously folded up and been lain out on this table for this supper. Really well painted to get these details but also interesting as you don’t usually see these sorts of details

Gallery VI: The Royal Portrait

Anthony van Dyck - Queen Henrietta Maria with Sir Jeffrey Hudson, 1633 at National Art Gallery Washington DC
Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). Henrietta Maria with Sir Jeffrey Hudson, 1633. Oil on Canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.
  • This painting shows the royal stature of Henrietta Maria well with the surroundings, fine clothing and strong standing
  • The creases in the clothing and folds in the fabric are really beautiful to create this great realism within the painting
  • I especially love the hands with their specific positioning and way kept, one hand on the monkey and another on a crease of her dress
William Dobson (1611-1646). Charles II, when Prince of Wales, with a Page, c. 1942. Oil on Canvas. National Gallery of Scotland.
  • This is another well known painting in the collection, showing the young Charles II in the foreground of a battle
  • The painting is suppose to show the hope for peace in the future under their families rule
  • Once again the detail in this piece is exquisite, with even the battle in the backround being shown in great detail. My favourite part, which you can’t see so much in this image, is that of Medusa’s head chopped off at the side there are little snakes wriggling around in her blood. This giving it a whole new level of realism.
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Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). The Five Eldest Children of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1637. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  •  Once again I really enjoyed getting to see all these real people and things painted so expertly it is like being in a room with them in a way. It really is a step into the past with paintings like these
  • This painting is especially interesting showing the children of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. I usually find there are less paintings of children and so it is lovely to see them all together here
  • There are a great range of poses here too, the baby is especially eye catching as you can see him wriggling and not staying still to pose as a real baby wouldn’t want to.

Central Hall: Charles I In The Hunting Field

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Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). Charles I on horseback with M. de St Antoine, 1633. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This was a grand piece that you would expect from a Royal painting, showing the King prepared for battle on horseback
  • This was certainly one of the largest paintings of Charles I along with the other two in this room of him with horses
  • This was probably the first time all three of these ‘in the hunting field’ paintings have been seen together as they would have been displayed in different locations and even the artist painted them at different times and wouldn’t have seen them together like this

Lecture Room: The Mortlake Tapestries

Mortlake Workshop after Raphael, borders designed by Francis Cleyn. The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, c. 1636-37. Wool, silk and gilt-metal-wrapped thread. Mobilier, National, Paris.
  • It is always amazing to see great tapestries in person as it is an art form that is rather lost in today’s world
  • It was interesting to see how they were based off Raphael’s cartoons, this one having a copy of the original cartoon displayed in the exhibition
  • The texture and quality is what really makes such a tapestry, the ripples and reflections within the water are my favourite part within this as it makes it so much more real

Gallery IX: The Whitehall Cabinet

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Quinten Massys (1466-1530). Desiderius Erasmus, 1517. Oil on Panel. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • The subtle look on this man’s face is what captured my attention with this painting, a look of great satisfaction with himself and his work I feel
  • With great use of light and shadow this piece is also eye catching
  • Lovely light details of the books and words give it more realism, especially with the hands you can almost see the hands moving across the page
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Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). Portrait of a Old Woman, 1627-29. Oil on Panel. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This is a bold portrait with a dynamic pose to the old woman, it gives her a great look as though she is full of wisdom and knowledge
  • The subtle soft light on her face is lovely, showing subtle details of her clothing
  • But what really makes this piece is the details of her face, the thin lines of wrinkles and the shading of each of the features are truly wonderful, it is as though the woman was stood there in front of you
Related image
Francesco Fanelli (1590-1653). St George and the Dragon, c. 1635-40. Bronze. Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • This is a lovely little sculpture, showing great movement and action of the characters with the flow of hair and pulling of the muscles in each of the figures
  • The use of bronze is really nice as it has a bold colour to it but also catches the light really well
  • This is definitely a method of sculpture I need to learn more about as I have seen many bronze sculptures before but not really sure on how these have actually been produced

Gallery VIII: The Queen’s House

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Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653). Allegory of Painting, c. 1638-39. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  •  This is one of my other favourites of the exhibition as it lovely to see a young woman in such a different more working kind of pose as you usually see women in a simple portraiture kind of pose or something more angelic like, and usually with a lot more breasts on display
  • And so to see this female artist at work here is of real interest, you can see the effort and work that is going into her painting with the expression of concentration and the light shine of sweat that appears on her brow
  • I also like the outfit she wears with the way the creases catch the light and the range of colours shown through it and the interesting little necklace piece is unusual
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Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639). Head of a Woman, c. 1630-35. Oil on Panel. Private Collection.
  • This is another striking painting with the eye catching look of the woman
  • The lighting is really what makes this piece for me with the light catching one side of her face and the shadow cast dynamically around the parts of the face and body
  • It is just a shame that the bottom part of the painting was cut away at some point when someone who had the painting found it too ‘rude’ with the nudity

Gallery VII: The Italian Renaissance

Esther before Ahasuerus (1547-48); Tintoretto, Jacopo.jpg
Jacopo Tintoretto (1519-1594). Esther before Ahasuerus, c. 1546-47. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • This is a really bold piece, showing a great crowd around a fainting woman, the colours really stand out within this piece which I feel builds on the overall crowded feel meant to be produced here
  • The clothing on all the figures are really interesting, each with different fabrics and styles all showing great movement as they curve around the fainted woman
  • Lighting within this is also captured really well with bright conrast between the lit parts and shadows
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Jacopo Bassano (1510-1592). The Adoration of the Shepherds, c 1546. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  •  Quite soft colouring here with an overall flesh/brown tone to the piece to connect with nature far more
  • I really like the halo to the woman too, with the subtlety of it and the lovely the way it draws you to the woman’s face, then hand and then baby
  • The little details in the woman’s face are really beautiful, the caring eyes to the baby, the light edges of a smile

Gallery X: Van Dyck and Rubens in England

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Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). Cupid and Psyche, 1639-40. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  •  The shadows cast over the different parts of these bodies really brings out the realism in these forms
  • Psyche is especially interesting with this fallen unconscious form she has taken, every part of her screaming this out, from the flowing fabric around her to the form and position of her face
  • The wings of Cupid too are lovely really showing a great strength to them which is nice to see
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Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Landscape with St. George and the Dragon, 1630-35. Oil on Canvas. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.
  •  This was one of the great final ‘show stoppers’ to the exhibition that was really interesting to see
  • It was all to be setup like the story  of St. George and the Dragon but with a few updates Rubens has put in for Charles I with the King being the knight to save the day. With God and his cherubs showing down at him from the heavens
  • And you can see the backdrop is actually of London, a lovely end to a really great exhibition of a wonderful collection of artwork from Charles I collection

If you can manage to go and see the Exhibition before it ends on the 15th April 2018 I would highly recommend it, especially if you are interested in such fine artists as those mentioned here in this post.

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