Charles II: Art & Power. Edited by Rufus Bird and Olivia Fryman.
London, Royal Collection Trust, 2017. Cm. 27x21, pag. 496, fig. a col, cart e sovrac.
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The Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 led to a resurgence of the arts in England, and Charles II became a leading patron and collector throughout the mid- and late seventeenth century. Fine and decorative arts served not only as furnishings for the royal residences but also as a means of glorifying the restored monarchy and reinforcing the position of Charles II as the rightful king.
Sumptuously illustrated, Charles II: Art & Power looks at the art and culture of the court of Charles II, as well as James II, who followed his brother as a liberal patron. It includes an exploration of the theme of power throughout the reigns of these monarchs, and looks at ritual and decorative uses of art and the development of a distinct "English Baroque." Among the many works of art showcased here are the replacement Crown Jewels made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, John Michael Wright’s monumental portrait of Charles II in his coronation robes, the glittering gilt plate that adorned the altar of Westminster Abbey during the coronation, Charles II’s collection of Italian Old Master paintings and drawings, including by Leonardo da Vinci, and many spectacular furnishings from the Palace of Whitehall and St James’s Palace.
Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Charles II: Art & Power matches an explanatory text with more than 400 lavish full-color illustrations that reveal the remarkable scope of Charles II and James II’s collecting.