Tudor and Stuart Courts

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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 - Henr...

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• Smith, David. 2005. ‘Portrait and Counter-Portrait in Holbein’s ‘The Family of Sir Thomas More’. The Art Bulletin, 87: 484-506.
• Ferguson, Margaret., Quilligan, Maureen., and Vickers, Nancy. 1986. Rewriting the Renaissance : the discourses of sexual difference in early modern Europe, (Chicago ; London : University of Chicago Press).
• Margaret, Aston. 1995. The King’s Bedpost: Reformation and iconography in a Tudor Group Portrait, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
• Smuts, Malcoil. (1996).The Stuart court and Europe: essays in politics and political culture, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
• Montrose, Louis. 2006. ‘Elizabeth through the Looking Glass: Picturing the Queens Two Bodies’ in The Body of the Queen: Gender and Rule in the Courtly World, 1500-2000, edited by Schulte, Regina. (New York, Bergahn Books) : 61-87.
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