Sir Anthony Van Dyck and the Court of King Charles I with Hattie Bennett

Sir Anthony Van Dyck and the Court of King Charles I with Hattie Bennett


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Anthony van Dyck's portraits of the doomed court of King Charles I are some of the most beautiful and influential paintings produced in England. They capture the royal family and courtiers on the cusp of the English Civil War in 1642. In this lecture, we will briefly trace Van Dyck's early career and the influence of Sir Peter Paul Rubens. We will discuss the art produced in England until his arrival and his legacy. Finally, we will discuss the biography of the King and Queen as well as courtiers and the legacy of Van Dyck in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), born in Antwerp and trained under Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Like his master, he traveled to Italy before arriving at the English Royal Court in the 1630s. His patron, King Charles I was a passionate collector of art but with little tradition of an English School of Art, looked to the continent for an artist who could fulfill his expectations.

We’ll learn how Van Dyck provided an alternative to the stiff, highly formal portrait style, popular since Queen Elizabeth I in favor of naturalism with relaxed poses and confident paint strokes which capture the texture and sheen of the lavish silk costumes worn by the court. Despite the relative informality, he was still able to capture dignity and majesty by introducing a new vocabulary in English art, influential for generations of artists.

Van Dyck's arrival at the English Court was a time of political turbulence with the King's refusal to co-operate with his parliament leading to the English Civil War and Charles's execution in 1649. We’ll discuss how van Dyck's portraits therefore vividly allow us to gaze at the faces of a doomed court, shortly to be shattered on the battlefield.

Led by an expert on Art History, Hattie Bennett, this interactive seminar will discuss the English career of Anthony van Dyck. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of his style and technique within the court of Charles I.

Hattie has a degree in History of Art and an MA in Historic Interiors, she has a life-long passion and fascination in Fine and Decorative Arts, particularly works produced in Europe from the 16th to 18th century. After working for the Royal Collection in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, she was a curator for a private collector of 17th and 18th century prints and drawings. Hattie has worked for London's foremost framer of important old master paintings during which time she sharpened her appreciation and understanding of the decorative arts and the changing tastes of collecting. Recently she has been dealing in prints and works of art as well as taking groups of all ages to museums and galleries.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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