Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Royalty on Paper
Images of royalty in all their splendor, designed to convey the power, majesty, and accomplishments of European monarchs and their courts from the 16th century to 1900, are presented in Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Royalty on Paper at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
On view through June 16, 2013, the exhibition highlights some 35 prints and drawings from the Museum’s collection, with select loans from private collectors. Among the works on display is Albrecht Dürer’s monumental Triumphal Chariot of the Emperor Maximilian (1522), printed on eight large sheets of paper and joined together for the first time at the MFA. Other artists represented include Goya, Jacques Louis David, and Honoré Daumier.
The exhibition explores the varied ways in which European monarchs and aristocrats were represented by court artists and those outside of these rarified circles in works that served as propaganda, commemorated an historical event, or even poked fun at perceived excesses or ineptitude.
Highlights include multiple images by various artists of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, Louis XIV, and Queen Victoria, as well as select images of Henri II and Marie Antoinette of France and Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I of England, and others of noble birth. In these regal portraits and depictions of lavish court entertainments, the artists captured a world of unbridled privilege that only the royals and their attendants could enjoy.
To enhance the appreciation of exhibit, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has produced a detailed family tree tracing Maximilian I’s relationships by birth and marriage to the royal houses of Europe, available on its website.
Illustration: A portion of Albrecht Dürer’s monumental Triumphal Chariot of the Emperor Maximilian (1522). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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