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Exhibition Review – Charles I: King and Collector at the Royal Academy from 27th January to 15th April 2018

The Royal Academy presents a new exhibition entitled Charles I: King and Collector which reunites some of the greatest masterpieces of the king’s collection for the first time. The exhibition features over 100 works of art including classical sculptures, Baroque paintings, remarkable miniatures and monumental tapestries.

The theme of the exhibition is how the political turmoil in 17th-century Europe provided opportunities to collect masterpieces from private collections and Charles I in particular, built his art collection by using these methods.  

The exhibition explores how the  king’s collection was used to illustrate a monarch’s power, his authority and good taste in the arts. Many of the great powers of Europe had built up great collections of art and had commissioned some of the great artists of the period to work for them. It was not just the competition from abroad that inspired the king to build up his collection, he was surrounded by aristocrats in his court most notably his friend, the Duke of Buckingham who were building their own collections.

When Charles reached nineteen, he inherited Queen Anne’s art collection when she died in 1619. He then travelled to Spain with the Duke of Buckingham and began to explore some of the great European collections. Titian in particular was a favourite as were many of the Italian masters and he returned to England with a number of works including paintings by Titian, Correggio and Veronese.

The exhibition features Titian’s The Supper at Emmaus and Veronese’s Mars, Venus and Cupid. 

When Charles became King in 1625, he sent Nicolas Lanier to buy paintings in Italy, whilst in Venice, Lanier was told that one of the great collections in Europe may be for sale. The Gonzaga’s in Mantua had fallen on hard times and in 1628 they were persuaded to sell their famous collection. The Gonzaga hoard included classical and modern sculptures, paintings by Titian, Correggio and Jan van Eyck. It also included the nine large canvases of Mantegna’s Triumph of Caesar (c.1484-92), with its scenes of elephants and trumpeters, chariots and crowds. The canvases are included in the exhibition and are featured in a dedicated gallery of their own.

Equally monumental are the Mortlake tapestries of Raphael’s Act of the Apostles which are considered some of the most spectacular tapestries ever produced in England.

The spectacular Gonzaga purchase made Charles’ reputation as a serious collector, however his vast expense on art was not so popular at home and his great friend, the Duke of Buckingham was assassinated in 1628.  Charles carried on building his collection and began to commission paintings and portraits from famous artists Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. One of the highlights of the exhibition is the monumental portraits of the king and his family.

In all, Van Dyck painted about 40 portraits of Charles, his triple portrait of the King was sent to Rome for Bernini to model his bust. Van Dyck use of horses made the rather small king seem tall and heroic.

In the exhibition is a room dedicated to the Cabinet Room in Whitehall Palace, this was the king’s inner sanctum which housed smaller items such as bas-reliefs, miniatures, books, engravings, drawings, medals and precious objects.

It is with some irony that considering Charles’ collection was amassed by taking advantage of political turmoil in Europe that it would be dispersed by similar events much closer to home. The fall of Charles in the English Civil War led to the collection being used to repay royal debts, many of the works being sold to European courts.

This fascinating and remarkable exhibition illustrates how art was used in the 17th century for the self-aggrandisement of monarchs and leaders. Charles I was not the first and will not be the last leader to learn the lesson that using the nation’s wealth to finance your own vanity projects usually ends in disaster. 

The exhibition launches the Royal Academy  250th celebrations and runs in parallel with Charles II: Art and Power at the Queens Gallery. 

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

For more information and book tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Charles I: King and Collector at the Royal Academy – 27th January to 15th April 2018

In January 2018, the Royal Academy of Arts, in partnership with Royal Collection Trust, will present Charles I: King and Collector, a landmark exhibition that will reunite one of the most extraordinary and influential art collections ever assembled. During his reign, Charles I (1600-1649) acquired and commissioned exceptional masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian and Mantegna, amongst others. Charles I was executed in 1649 and just months later the collection was offered for sale and dispersed across Europe. Although many works were retrieved by Charles II during the Restoration, others now form the core of collections such as the Musée du Louvre and the Museo Nacional del Prado.

Charles I: King and Collector will reunite around 150 of the most important works for the first time since the seventeenth century, providing an unprecedented opportunity to experience the collection that changed the appreciation of art in England. By 1649, the collection of Charles I comprised around 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures.

Charles I: King and Collector will include over 90 works generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. Major lenders will also include The National Gallery, London, the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, as well as numerous other public and private collections.

Anthony van Dyck’s monumental portraits of the king and his family will form the core of the exhibition: his first major commission upon his arrival in England, Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Prince Charles and Princess Mary (‘The Greate Peece’), 1632 (The Royal Collection), and his two magnificent equestrian portraits, Charles I on Horseback with M. de St. Antoine, 1633 (The Royal Collection), and Charles I on Horseback, 1637-38 (The National Gallery, London). They will be shown together with Van Dyck’s most celebrated and moving portrait of the king, Charles I (‘Le Roi à la chasse’), c.1635 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which will return to England for the first time since the seventeenth century.

Charles I commissioned some of the most important artists of his day, and the exhibition will include Peter Paul Rubens’s Minerva Protects Pax from Mars (‘Peace and War’), 1629-30 (The National Gallery, London) and his Landscape with Saint George and the Dragon, 1630-5 (The Royal Collection) as well as Van Dyck’s spectacular Cupid and Psyche, 1639-40 (The Royal Collection). Particular attention will be given to the patronage of Queen Henrietta Maria, including works by Orazio Gentileschi and Guido Reni.

In addition, the exhibition will present the most important Renaissance paintings from the collection, including Andrea Mantegna’s monumental series, The Triumph of Caesar, c.1484-92 (The Royal Collection), which will command a dedicated gallery within the exhibition, as well as Titian’s Supper at Emmaus, c.1530 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), and Charles V with a Dog, 1533 (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid). Other Renaissance artists represented are Correggio, Agnolo Bronzino, Jacopo Bassano, Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese as well as Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossaert, Hans Holbein the Younger and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Further highlights will be the celebrated Mortlake tapestries of Raphael’s Acts of the Apostles, c.1631-40 (Mobilier National, Paris), arguably the most spectacular set of tapestries ever produced in England, as well as the precious works formerly kept in the Cabinet at Whitehall Palace, including paintings, statuettes, miniatures and drawings.

Admission

£20.00 full price (£18 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free.

For more information and book tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

 

A Short Guide to the National Gallery

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In April 1824 the House of Commons agreed to pay £57,000 for the picture collection of the banker John Julius Angerstein. His 38 pictures were intended to form the core of a new national collection which would be housed in a new building.
In 1831, Parliament agreed to construct the building for the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square which finally opened in 1838. The National Gallery had free admission and wished to appeal all sections of society. However its success led to calls to expand the building and subsequent wings were added in 1876, 1907, 1975 and 1991.

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Although the collections of John Julius Angerstein and Sir George Beaumont provided the bulk of the National Gallery, in 1855 the new director Sir Charles Eastlake travelled throughout Europe to purchase pictures for the collection. Within 10 years  the Gallery’s collection of Italian painting was considered  one of the best in the world.

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When the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner bequeathed over 1000 paintings, drawings and watercolours to the collection in 1856, it was  decided to exhibit British works in a separate premises. Eventually a site was found at Millbank and the Gallery opened in 1897. The new gallery was officially known the National Gallery of British Art, changing its name to the National Gallery, Millbank in 1917. The wealthy industrialist, Henry Tate, offered his collection to the nation and funded the gallery which led to the gallery later becoming known as the Tate Gallery. Therefore ironically the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square only possessed a small selection of British pictures as the majority were transferred to the Tate which up to 1955 was under the administration of the National Gallery.

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The National Gallery Collection contains over 2,300 works, including many famous works, such as van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

All major traditions of Western European painting are represented from the artists of late medieval and Renaissance Italy to the French Impressionists.
13th- to 15th-century paintings
Duccio, Uccello, van Eyck, Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli, Dürer, Memling, Bellini
16th-century paintings
Leonardo, Cranach, Michelangelo, Raphael, Holbein, Bruegel, Bronzino, Titian, Veronese
17th-century paintings
Caravaggio, Rubens, Poussin, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Claude, Rembrandt, Cuyp, Vermeer
18th- to early 20th-century paintings
Canaletto, Goya, Turner, Constable, Ingres, Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh

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Highlights

A Young Woman standing at a Virginal -Johannes Vermeer about 1670-2

Bacchus and Ariadne – Titian  1520-3

Bathers at Asnières – Georges Seurat  1884

Doge Leonardo Loredan – Giovanni Bellini  1501-2

Equestrian Portrait of Charles I – Anthony van Dyck  about 1637-8

Mr and Mrs Andrews – Thomas Gainsborough about 1750

Samson and Delilah – Peter Paul Rubens about 1609-10

Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula – Claude 1641

Self Portrait at the Age of 34 – Rembrandt 1640

Sunflowers – Vincent van Gogh 1888

The Ambassadors – Hans Holbein the Younger 1533

The Arnolfini Portrait – Jan van Eyck 1434

The Battle of San Romano – Paolo Uccello probably about 1438-40

The Entombment – Michelangelo about 1500-1

The Fighting Temeraire –Joseph Mallord William Turner 1839

The Hay Wain – John Constable 1821

The Madonna of the Pinks (‘La Madonna dei Garofani’) – Raphael about 1506-7

The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’) – Diego Velázquez 1647-51

The Virgin of the Rocks from Panels from the S. Francesco Altarpiece, Milan

Leonardo da Vinci about 1491/2-9 and 1506-8

The Wilton Diptych – English or French (?)about 1395-9

Venus and Mars – Sandro Botticelli about 1485

Admission Free
Opening hours: Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 9pm
The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

 For more information visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here