In case you missed it, this article first appeared on http://www.queenanneboleyn.com in July 2018 in commemoration of the execution of Thomas Cromwell on 28th July 1540. Today we are used to seeing the English royals on TV, in photos on social media, and on the front of our newspapers. Back in the 16th century the royal… Continue reading Thomas Cromwell (1495-1540): Creator of the “Tudor Brand”
The dawn of the sixteenth century saw the portrait being used more widely for self-promotional purposes thanks to one man - Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Albrecht Dürer sketched himself from the from the age of thirteen and as an adult, completing at least three individual self-portraits during his lifetime. The very first of these was a silverpoint… Continue reading Albrecht Dürer : The Master of self-promotion
The portrait of Elizabeth I known as the Armada Portrait was saved for the nation thanks to contributions from a generous public and a huge donation from the Art Fund. It has now been fully restored and hangs in The Queen’s House, Greenwich. It is one of three portraits that clearly derive from the same… Continue reading The Armada Portrait Reconsidered.
On International Women's Day I am asking you to consider the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey 1716-18, medical pioneer, adventurer and prolific letter writer. After their time in Constantinople the Wortley Montagu's returned to England, but left England again in 1739, not returning until the 1760s.… Continue reading A Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the NPG, London.
How does a 21st century audience recognise the shakers and movers of Tudor society? Clearly those historians who immerse themselves in documents will have a feel for the way they believe these men and women thought. Combine that with the use of the portrait as a propoganda tool and suddenly these influential people are no… Continue reading How we know the Movers & Shakers of Tudor Society
Tate Modern opened its doors on an exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani’s nudes on 23rd November, 2017. Seeing a Modigliani portrait at the age of 9 opened my eyes to think of portraiture as something other than photographic realism. The way this artist elongated the neck of the woman and the simple way the curves of… Continue reading Amedeo Modigliani at Tate Modern
On Wednesday 15th November Christie’s sale rooms in New York offered a painting of Christ as Saviour of the World by the Renaissance polymath, Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519). The hammer price reached was $400,000,000! This painting has to be one of the most incredible finds of the 21st century. I was privileged to… Continue reading Leonardo da Vinci – The Salvator Mundi