Food for the Soul: Charles I – The Royal Connoisseur of Art

Anthony van Dyck. Charles I in Three Positions, 1635-6. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, UK. 84.4 x 99.4 cm. RCIN 404420. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ars longa, vita brevis.” ~ Hippocrates, Aphorismi

By Nina Heyn — Your Culture Scout

As the world witnesses a historic change in Great Britain, which welcomes Charles III as the new king (the coronation ceremony has been scheduled for May 6, 2023), it is perhaps worth remembering the first English monarch of this name—Charles I (1600–1649). In history, he is famous as the first modern European king to be executed by his people, but in art history, he is most remembered for his passion for collecting and patronage of such talents as Van Dyck, Rubens, and Inigo Jones, as well as Artemisia and Orazio Gentileschi. In other words, while he may have failed miserably at statecraft, Britain owes Charles I a debt for assembling a priceless collection of art. His collection of 1500 paintings influenced the tastes of generations of British society in general, and its artists and intellectuals in particular. The subsequent dispersal of a large part of his artworks also enriched the collections of connoisseurs all over Europe.

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