Course overview

During this five week course we will explore a number of portraits of British Monarchs. We will discover the anonymous Wilton Diptych, Holbein’s portrayal of Henry VIII, the evolving portraits of Elizabeth I throughout her life; the paintings of Charles I by Anthony Van Dyck, and several portraits of the de-facto monarch Oliver Cromwell. The course will introduce the lives of the artists, the historical and socio-political contexts of the paintings, and discuss the changing perceptions of the monarchy as shown in this 250 year long history. Images of the portraits will be available for you online. Come along and tap into your inner art-critic.

Course description

Portraying the monarch at any given historical moment could

be a fraught proposition, involving the massaging of the

sitter’s ego, and the creation of the desired political

statements through the paintings’ iconography. We will

discuss the nature of monarchy that each artist sought to

promulgate, and discuss in detail the political necessity of

each portrait’s imagery. We shall observe that this is of

paramount importance in the Tudor and Stuart eras, as the

nature of the succession, and later the question of the Divine

Right of Kings came to the fore.

Although we shall analyse each portrait in detail, assessing its

craft and the individual artist’s style, we will also discuss the

historical context in which the portraits are produced, the

nature of patronage, and we will refer to literary texts and

documents where appropriate. In this way, we shall come to

appreciate that these images are far from static or passive,

but are rather active and at the centre of the often febrile

times in which they are created. This is of particular relevance

in the years running up to and after the English Civil Wars,

during the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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