Sunday, March 19, 2023

Visiting the Tudors

The Cleveland Museum of Art currently has a special exhibit entitled "The Tudors, Art and Majesty in Renaissance England".  The Tudors, in case you don't remember from your history class, were the family that ruled England from 1485 until 1603.  The dynasty began with Henry VII, who took the throne at the end of the War of the Roses, and continued with his son, the infamous Henry VIII, and his progeny, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

Objects from the Tudor era have been brought together from a variety of museums and private collections for this exhibit.  Last week I went with several friends to see this outstanding show.


As you enter the exhibit you see an enormous bronze candelabrum.  I had my friend Frank stand in front of it to give you an idea of its size.

The candelabrum was one of several objects commissioned by Henry VIII's chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, to be a part of his tomb.  When Wolsey fell out of favor with the King, the objects were confiscated.

Next to the candelabrum are two bronze angels that were also supposed to be part of the Cardinal's tomb.  

This is the first time in more than 400 years that these bronze pieces have been brought together again.

This enormous Flemish tapestry, entitled "The Creation and Fall of Man", was part of a set of ten that were ordered by Henry VII.  The tapestry includes gold and silver threads.

This ecclesiastical garment, known as a cope, is one of thirty vestments that Henry VII commissioned for use in Westminister Abbey.

This terracotta statue of St. John the Evangelist was one of 32 saints that were supposed to adorn the tomb of Henry VII.

This portrait of Elizabeth I was painted when she was 34 years old.  She is portrayed as an attractive, marriageable, young woman at a time in her life when negotiations were underway to find her a suitable husband.

Of course, Elizabeth, nicknamed the "Virgin Queen", never married, and her death brought the Tudor dynasty to an end.

Henry VIII had one son, Edward, who would succeed his father upon his death.  This portrait of the young prince was done by the court painter, Hans Holbein the Younger.

This full-length portrait of Henry VIII was done by the workshop of Hans Holbein.

This portrait of Henry VIII was done when he was 18, shortly after his coronation and his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Henry VIII's oldest child, Mary, was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon.  After the death of her half-brother, Edward VI, she succeeded to the throne.

Mary I was the first woman to rule England as queen. She reversed the English Reformation and restored the Catholic Church in England.  She formed a marriage alliance with her mother's family, marrying her cousin, Felipe, the heir to the Spanish throne.  In this portrait, the pendant that she wears was a gift from Felipe.  She died childless at the age of 42, and was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth.

A stained-glass window that was commissioned by Henry VIII for King's College at Cambridge.

A suit of field armor, probably made for Henry VIII

This Ming Dynasty ewer and two-handled bowl were bequeathed by Sir Walter Raleigh to Robert Cecil, Elizabeth's Secretary of State.

This tankard made of limestone and gilded silver was made by the court goldsmith and may have been a New Year's gift to Elizabeth I.

Even though England and France were often enemies, the English aristocracy still treasured French luxury products.  The "sea-dog" table was made in Paris and was purchased by the Earl of Shrewsbury.  His estranged wife, Bess, was one of Elizabeth's courtiers.

Bess, the Countess of Shrewsbury, commissioned this portrait of Elizabeth for her country home.

I have more to show you from this exhibit in a future post.

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