The opportunity remains to visit this exquisite collection at the Queen’s Gallery, which is on display until Sunday 14th April 2013
The artistic period between 1450 and the turn of the 17th Century in Northern Europe was influenced by the social and political upheaval of the times including challenges to a number of established Church precepts and disagreements about the suitability of certain religious artworks. This resulted in material subjects, portraiture and mythological landscapes becoming more widely popular than they had previously been. The exhibition features numerous works of some famous artists, including also those slightly less known, as Hans Holbein the Younger, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Memling, Jan Gossaert, Joos van Cleve and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
This beautiful, comprehensive exhibition displaying pieces from the Royal Collection turns the spotlight from the earlier and more romanticised Italian Renaissance further north, focusing on Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein, with a room dedicated to each. Highlights for me included studying many of the most well-known paintings of Henry VIII and his court for the first time. Holbein was known as the ‘King’s Painter’, and Jane Seymour, Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Thomas More are displayed beside paintings of the King throughout his reign (including a pair of miniature portraits by Lucas Horenbout – one with Henry sporting stubble and the other clean-shaven, commissioned by Catherine of Aragon to allow her to decide which look suited him best!).
Besides the richly coloured paintings and ornate tapestries are intricate pencil drawings by Dürer. One in particular – the detailed and accurate study of a rhinoceros becomes superb in context as he had never seen one in real life. There are also pieces of elaborately engraved ceremonial armour belonging to King Henry which seem slightly surreal because of their immense size.
In summary, this is a rich and stimulating exhibition for anyone interested in, or new to, the development of the classical art-world.
The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein is on display until April 14th at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, from 10am-5.30pm daily.
For more details visit website or call 020 7766 7301.
Admission £9.25, concessions available. One ticket allows multiple visits.
For more images from the exhibition, the the earlier article here.
Text Sophie Neve
‘Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII and Jane Seymour’ by Remigius van Leemput c. 1667. Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II