|New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait|
Pietro Annigoni, Queen Elizabeth II, 1969.
LONDON.- Portraits have played a central role in shaping the image of Monarchy. They have helped legitimise claims to the throne, reinforced dynastic ambitions, cemented political alliances, accompanied proposals of marriage, and even offered a glimpse into the private life of the royal family.
The Royal Portrait: Image and Impact brings together iconic images of kings and queens by some of the most celebrated portrait artists, including Holbein, Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Lawrence and Freud. It looks at the creation of a monarchs identity through portraiture over the past 600 years, assessing the influence of patron, artist and audience. The story is brought up to date with images of Her Majesty The Queen, including the work of the photographers Rankin and Annie Leibovitz, as the author considers the relevance of the royal portrait in the age of paparazzo photography and global media.
Up to the early 16th century, the main function of the portrait was to communicate the status of the sitter, rather than serve as a truthful record of their appearance. The Family of Henry VII with St George and the Dragon (c.15039) is a highly idealised and symbolic representation of the King and his family, including his four deceased children. Only a few years later, Henry VIII and his court artist, Hans Holbein, transformed portraiture in Britain forever. Holbeins larger-than-life and realistic depiction of the King for the Whitehall Mural was so powerful that it left viewers in a state of fright. This was the first royal portrait to be disseminated to a mass audience through numerous versions. Elizabeth I, following the example of her father, guarded her image fiercely and even passed a law to prevent portraits being produced without her consent.
In the early 17th century, royal portraiture was heavily influenced by the belief that the monarch was divinely ordained to rule. Van Dycks equestrian portrait Charles I with M. de St. Antoine (1633) shows the all-powerful King riding through a triumphal arch and towering above the viewer, despite his diminutive stature. By contrast, in Charles I and Henrietta Maria Departing for the Chase (c.163032) by Daniel Mytens, the King and Queen appear as a fashionably dressed couple standing hand in hand, giving the viewer a rare insight into their private world.
With the 18th century came the fashion for informality in portraiture. This was the age of the Conversation Piece, a group portrait that captures sitters in what appears to be a spontaneous, natural moment. Through the work of Johan Zoffany, the greatest practitioner of the Conversation Piece, George III and Queen Charlotte were portrayed as approachable and modern. In Zoffanys Queen Charlotte with her Two Eldest Sons (c.1765), the royal family is shown relaxed and at play. This picture of domestic normality contrasts with Thomas Lawrences swaggering coronation portrait of George IV (son of George III) (c.181821). Here the King is presented as a romantic, conquering hero and the vanquisher of Napoleon.
Queen Victoria had strong views about how she was portrayed and considered her State portrait by Sir David Wilkie to be atrocious. Among her favourite painters was the German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter. In The Royal Family in 1846 Winterhalter depicts the Queen as a glamorous woman in an elegant ball gown, and as a model wife and mother. Queen Victorias image was mass produced to an unprecedented extent through engraved reproductions and the new medium of photography, of which she was a passionate advocate. The Queen commissioned several thousand photographic images of herself and her family. In 1898 a member of the Royal Household commented, It is quite a weakness of hers to be photographed in every possible condition of her daily life.
Today the image of Her Majesty The Queen is familiar to millions through the global reach of modern media. Yet portraiture continues to play an important role in communicating powerful messages about Monarchy. For example, in Missis Kwin (1996) the Papua New Guinean artist Mathias Kauage portrayed Her Majesty as a tribal chief adorned with symbols of authority from his own culture. Separated by almost half a century are two of the most striking portraits of The Queen: Pietro Annigonis 1954 commission for the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and Lucian Freuds portrait of 20001. The most recent official portrait of The Queen was produced by the photographer Annie Leibovitz to celebrate Her Majestys visit to the United States of America in 2007. Leibovitzs work is wholly a product of the 21st century, but at the same time plays homage to the rich tradition of royal portraiture.
Jennifer Scott is Assistant Curator of Paintings at the Royal Collection and is the co-author of Bruegel to Rubens: Masters of Flemish Painting (2007) and Dutch Landscapes (2010).
The Royal Portrait: Image and Impact will be available from Royal Collection shops at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
September 4, 2010
Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden Explores the Young Johannes Vermeer
Gallery Hyundai Presents Sarah Morris: Clips, Knots, and 1972
A Floating Pavilion for Croatia at the Venice Architecture Biennale
First Millet Exhibition in More Than Twenty-Five Years at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Culture Minister Opens National Gallery Exhibition Devoted to Dutch 17th-Century Painter Gabriel Metsu
Solo Exhibitions by Don Porcella and Susanne Ring at Cain Schulte Gallery
Bonhams to Sell Elvis Presley's Mercedes-Benz 600 in December
New Works by Berlin Fine Art Photographer Stefan Heyne at Sudendorf Gallery
Adolph Gottlieb Retrospective Opens at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Galerie Adler Opens Artists Anonymous: "Everything is Possible - Everything is Done"
Treasures of the Islamic and Indian Worlds at Christie's London
New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait
Arthur Blumenthal Appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions
SFMOMA to Honor William T. Wiley with 11th Annual Bay Area Treasure Award
Smithsonian American Art Museum Offers Largest Mission-Based Game Ever Designed
Sotheby's Exhibition of Sculpture at Chatsworth, Now in Its Fifth Year
Ed Ruscha's Apartments, Parking Lots, Palm Trees and Others at Sprüth Magers
Artist Mladen Miljanovic Draws Inspiration from Bosnia's Turmoil
Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of Prints
Pearl Harbor Marks 65th Anniversary of World War II's End
Galerie Anita Beckers Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Jürgen Klauke Exhibition
Australian Pavilion in Venice Showcases a New Perspective on Cities
Phillips Collection to Reopen on Saturday, Museum Waives Admission Fees
Mexica Ceremonial Censer Replica Handed over to Tlahuac Community
Museum of Modern Art Announces ContemporAsian
Renaissance Seattle Hotel and Seattle Art Museum Celebrate Legacy of Pablo Picasso
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Egypt conservationists to sue over 'botched' Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun mask repair
2.- Scrolls scorched by Vesuvius may be read again thanks to 21st century technology
3.- Italian government seizes more than 5,000 looted antiquities in record 45-million-euro haul
4.- Remains of at least five people found in Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis
5.- Munich poised to lift ban on Holocaust memorial project known as Stolpersteine
6.- Rare coin records smashed by Heritage Auctions at Florida United Numismatists Convention
7.- Bonhams to offer Alan Turing's hidden manuscript on the foundations of mathematics and computer science
8.- Jane Wilson, painter of luminous landscapes, dies at the age of 90 in New York
9.- First exhibition in the UK to examine Rubens influence on art history opens in London
10.- Paul Simonon presents a series of new paintings at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts
New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|