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Tudor And Stuart Courts Essay

2473 words - 10 pages

Whilst contemporaries praise the monarchy in terms of likeness, renaissance portraiture was more than just a record of features. It can be argued that the depiction of wealth, symbols of power and badges of descent are not art for art’s sake; but rather art for the sake of power and dynasty. However, this scrutiny to present dynasty is often somewhat inappropriate and impossible, best recognised in depicting the two year old Edward VI as a symbol of sexual fluidity. Both the Tudor and Stuart courts used their dynastical brand to improve their individual image but this does somewhat dilute the importance of a collective representation. Nowhere is this more discernible than in the Tudor court image of Elizabeth where she rejects the appearance of fruitfulness in celebration for her celibate monarchical identity. However, her image remains as one of the most successfully recognised with the modern day populace. Therefore it should be considered that although dynasty is represented in the Tudor and Stuart Court’s, the importance of this representation is not always the forefront of success. The multifaceted reality of both houses imagery is that they are always reliant on the success and memory of the previous reign. Although in retrospect a more harmonious dynastic rule with the Stuart monarchs is present, their imagery is often under great contestation. Therefore it is questionable whether the importance of dynasty acted favourably to both court’s or was disrupted with the complicity of socio-political factors.

Although Henry VII founded the Tudor dynasty; the real focus of instigating dynastic representation is with Henry VIII. Kevin Sharpe follows this by stating despite creating one of the greatest historical monarchs - Henry VII fails the postcard recognition test today. By identifying Holbein’s Whitehall Mural, it displays the wisdom and legitimacy of the older generation, power and determination of the younger. Notably the inscription on the tablet describes the achievements of both father and son but resides that the son is a greater man. Although this subconsciously improves the image of Henry VII in producing such a successful heir, it does elevate Henry VIII as superior and outshining his father through text and frontal composition. The dating of this piece is fundamental in understanding its crucial message. It has been suggested that the Whitehall Mural was created in late 1537 and thus a posthumous depiction of Jane Seymour bearing Edward VI. This is significant as it represents a portrait of stability with three generations of Tudor blood and asserts that the dynasty is secure with Henry’s virility. Overall, the placement of Henry’s parents and Jane Seymour merely serve the purpose of solidifying the legitimacy of their son and in turn, the painting can undeniably be recognised as a self-portrait of Henry. His fixed gaze, his fashioned dress-wear and ‘swaggered’ stance, elevates Henry VIII to a superior masculine position over...

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