Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Time Out with the Tudors

We recently headed to Cleveland for an extended family wedding. It was the first trip I'd taken (apart from to the kids or to the lake) since Covid and what a treat to connect once more with friends and family. Our first stop was to see friends Jane and Mike. Jane had kindly given us tickets to the Tudor exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art for the following day and we enjoyed a terrific dinner and catching up. Mike had recently returned from Ukraine where he was training doctors and civilians in emergency medicine. He had some fascinating and harrowing stories to tell.


The next morning we were off to the museum. The period of the Tudors -- Henry VII through Elizabeth I -- was a time of an arts renaissance. It was also a time of great political change -- separation from the Roman Catholic Church, wars, and more. 


It was also a time of luxury when patronizing the arts was legimitized. The finest weavers of Flanders, the great painters and armorers combined European art into what the exhibit describes as a distinctly English style.


Our tickets were for 10:30 and the exhibit wasn't at all crowded, which made it very comfortable for taking one's time to look at the art. Items were donated for the exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many private collections. I noticed that on more than a few, the pieces were donated by King Charles III.


It was fascinating to see tapestries that covered the massive walls of the museum, so large that my camera couldn't capture the entire view! 


But the details were exquisite.


The portraits were magnificent -- and big!


The one below, of Edward VI by Hans Holbein, is one I've seen on just about every documentary or in any book about the Tudors. To see it from inches away was spellbinding. (It makes sense there aren't a lot of portraits of Edward VI -- he didn't live long.)

Here's a closer look.

 

He was survived by his sister, Mary, also known as Bloody Mary, daughter of Katharine of Aragon, who decided to restore the Catholic Church in England and led a reign of terror for many.


And of course, Elizabeth I had her day. Here is a portrait of her in younger days... (sorry for the bad lighting)

 

...and one called the "Elizabeth I: The Rainbow Portrait" by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, a Flemish artist. It was painted at the end of her reign and depicts her as an "ageless and unreal beauty."

 

The painting is loaded with symbolism. The serpent on her sleeve represents wisdom, The motif of eyes and ears on her cloak indicate she is all-seeing and hearing and the rainbow represents bringing light to her subjects after a storm. Here's a detail.

 

There were numerous other items as well, including this chausible, an outer vestment worn by a priest for celebrating Mass, presumably made for and worn by Cardinal Woolsey.


.... and this magnificent cope is a liturgical vestment commissioned by Henry VII. It was made of linen and silk embroidered with gold and silver threads. The vertical gate or portcullis in the center is a symbol of Henry's maternal Beaufort family and is surrounded by red rose vines and -- at the top -- two Tudor Roses. It was one of 30 vestments commissioned by Henry VII for Westminster Abbey from Italian weavers.

Rick was intrigued by some of the armor -- with good reason. It was magnificent. (But not good for cycling.) This one was for Henry VIII -- much smaller than the King of the later portraits.


 This one was extremely elaborate.


There was some stained glass as well.


And then there were those tapestries.. This one shows the burning of the books. Everything old is new again.

As you can see -- enormous!

In short, it was a wonderful exhibit -- but there was more to come! 


After all, this is a big museum -- and there was plenty to see!

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73 comments:

Iris Flavia said...

A very special exhibition! Fine arts. Thank you for sharing this.

Sandra Cox said...

How fascinating. Don't think I'd want to wear that armor:)

Bill said...

How nice to see such a wonderful exhibit. Thanks for sharing.

Mae Travels said...

Over the years I’ve learned so much from well-presented art exhibits. This sounds like one of the great ones, with lots of historically relevant art works that are also great in and of themselves. Your selection of photos to document it is lovely.
best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Joanne Huffman said...

Looks like a really cool exhibit.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

How wonderful for you both to have taken a road trip and then to be treated to such an interesting exhibit. The tapestries were lovely and amazing that they have survived in such wonderful condition.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Nice photos and post
Amazing to see things in person that were once only seen on TV and in books.
The size of the murals boggles the mind.

Steve Reed said...

Sounds like a great exhibit! You sent me off to read about Mary Tudor and also Edward VI. I'd forgotten that Mary was queen before Elizabeth I. Thanks for the little history lesson!

Prims By The Water said...

Vert interesting. Would have ;oved to see this exhibit. I watched the series of the Tudors on tv and also the White Queen series. Both were good. I also watched the kings coronation. Maybe I should have been British. Just love their history nd their pageantry. Janice

My name is Erika. said...

This looks like an amazing exhibit. I recognize some of these pieces, so I understand exactly what you felt standing in front of them. It must have been amazing. And that Henry VIII armor might have been at the Tower of London when we visited there was back when. Maybe not, but I remember seeing some of his armor and thinking he would never have fit in it later in life. I'm glad you have more to share as this; I really enjoyed this post. Hope the wedding was nice too. hugs-Erika

roentare said...

The realism and the glow are so surreal in these paintings. What a great exhibition.

Rita said...

I've always been a bit fascinated by British history...history of Europe in general. Looks like quite the exhibit! I would gladly look at more pictures. :)

Jim and Barb's RV Adventure said...

Wow! Although I am sure the tapestries and painting were amazing, I would be drawn to the armor as well.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Thanks for walking us through the museum with you. Isn't it fascinating how well all those old paintings hold their colors and our curiosity and over the years.

Anvilcloud said...

Good coverage of this incredible display. It was quite an era.

Victoria Zigler said...

That's one of my favourite periods of history.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great post! And this was such a great exhibit. Those tapestries! Can you even imagine how many people it took to weave them? (And where would you lay out one of the tapestries to get a view of how it was coming along? I wonder.)

I was intrigued by the Tudors when I was a teenager - read every book I could find, especially of Elizabeth Tudor. Now you have to wonder at the cost of such lavish living when so many in England were still poor - but those were also the days when I thought Royalty was romantic and wonderful. Also, through most of my adult years I watched every movie or TV documentary that came out about the Tudors, any of them. What made them such an intriguing royal family?

I also enjoyed learning from your post what some of the symbolism was in various artistic motifs. How fortunate that you had the opportunity to see this exhibit and fortunate for us that you could share it with us.

William Kendall said...

I would find this fascinating.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

There is much to be learned and enjoyed from a good art exhibit, gallery or museum. I am glad that you had the opportunity to visit this one, Jeanie.

kathyinozarks said...

Wow what a magnificent event to be able to see in person-thank you for sharing with us-I enjoyed it

La Table De Nana said...

You would have a ball with CarolG :). Lovely outing!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

It's a wonderful feeling to start traveling again! It looks like an exquisite and fascinating exhibit, which must be quite something in person!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a wonderful exhibit! That painting of Edward the VI is amazing. It looks almost 3 dimensional - they really captured his chubby cheeks! It almost looks like a photograph of his face was superimposed on the painting! Amazing!

I bet your friend Mike has some amazing stories from his visit to Ukraine. Is he a retired physician? What a wonderful way to give back. Was he afraid to travel to Ukraine? Did he feel pretty safe there? I wonder when that conflict will end. :(

ashok said...

Fascinating place..thanks for the tour J

Sami said...

Magnificent exhibition Jeanie! Those tapestries, the elaborate armor suits, the clothes...all so grand.

gigi-hawaii said...

It's simply amazing how this type of art, garments and armor can survive the turmoil of time. I must brush up on British history, as I know very little about the monarchs who followed Elizabeth I.

Divers and Sundry said...

What a fabulous exhibit and a wonderful opportunity to see these works. Thanks for sharing the photos.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!!! I am so jealous; having been born and raised in suburb areas surrounding Cleveland, OH and my Dad having worked for both Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland Press, I have so many great memories of growing up in Cuyahoga County :). AND, now that I live so very far away, the museum has an exhibit of one of my favorite eras of history; Tudor england! I have a HUGE Tudor library, with the rest on Victorian era through present; plus memorabilia type collection to go with. I would have LOVED LOVED LOVED to visit this exhibit !!!! You got some great pics !!!
Dawn Pinnataro, Albany, GA

Marilyn Miller said...

Wow! What an amazing exhibit. Now I will be hoping it comes to Portland. I love the large tapestry's. So happy you could be there and enjoy.

DUTA said...

Stunning exhibits! This visit was time extremely well spent!

Valerie-Jael said...

Stunning exhibits, glad you got to see them. I was abe to view many things when I was living in London, and loved the extravagance of everything. On the other hand, the poor had nothing and the rich everything - history repeats itself. Have a great day, hugs, Valerie

Carol @ The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, I’m so thrilled for you to finally take a trip, go to a special wedding and more importantly to see the Tudor exhibit. How I wish I could have seen it, along with thousands of others. From your wonderful photos, it looks so fascinating! I look forward to seeing more.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Wow - the presentation of the splendor must have been overwhelming. Great job in presenting it with photos.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I knew absolutely NOTHING about the history of British Kings and Queens until I made an altered book for a friend who had printed out all the images and decided it was too overwhelming for her to make. She gave me all the images and I had to research each and every king and queen because there was no information and not even a name on some of the images. It took me three months, but I started in 1066, not just the Tudors.

I was incredibly impressed with your photos from the museum. To be abke to see the famous Henry VIII and Edward VI would have been worth the price of admission. Add to that, all those HUGE tapestries and you have an incredibly impressive exhibit. Thanks for sharing your amazing photos, dear Jeanie.

Joyful said...

Oh my word, the paintings, the tapestries, so exquisite! One of my very favourite things is tapestries and the English do them so very well.

Bindu said...

It is nice of you to share those photos

Pamela said...

This looks like a fascinating exhibit! Thank you for sharing your experience.

This N That said...

I really enjoyed the Tudor exhibition..I am very fond of that period..The pictures, tapestries, etc. are gorgeous. Lovely exhibit ...Thanks for sharing..

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, this is a wonderful and fascinating exhibit. I love the exquisite tapestries. Thank you for taking me along, I enjoyed all of your photos!

shoreacres said...

I'm always taken with the tapestries, although that armor certainly is a show-stopper! I have a wonderful Tudor-era joke, but it needs to be told rather than written: it's one of "those" that depends on puns and such. Anyway, I'd forgotten it until now -- I'm glad you brought it back, and I'm especially glad you took the time to share such a wonderful exhibit with us!

Sandi Magle said...

Fascinating! I hope it comes to Chicago...definitely worth what ever the $$$ were! I'm like you the Holbein is amazing and imposing...definitely a man to be wary of! Great pose!

Veronica Lee said...

I would love to see the exhibition - I have a fascination with British History especially the Tudor period.

Thanks for the amazing tour, Jeanie.

Hugs and blessings

Rajani Rehana said...

Beautiful blog

Lux G. said...

I watched the show and I'm not sure how much of it is fictional but it's crazy! I love going to the museums. I'm sure I'll enjoy this exhibit. Thanks for sharing!

Lisbeth said...

Such a treat to meet family and friends again. Must have been very nice. And such an interesting exhibition. Henry VIII and the Tudor times are still fascinating people today. They really made an impact, for good and/or bad.
Fantastic paintings and tapestry. Must have been a great visit.

Linda P said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful trip with the opportunity to be with friends and also go to the Tudor exhibition where there were marvelous paintings, vestments and even an original royal suit of armour. I'm glad to hear it wasn't too crowded so that you could study the exhibits close up. That's my kind of enjoyable trip. We don't venture far from home at the moment so thank you for sharing.

roughterrain crane said...

The museum has a lot of magnificent masterpieces. I like to visit museums to know more about various histories which seem to have no relation with today.

R's Rue said...

Wonderful photos.

Christine said...

Very interesting

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What an extraordinary and exciting exhibit! Thanks for taking us along.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful exhibit, Jeanie! The photos are exquisite! What a thoughtful gift from your friends Jane and Mike! I looked online and the exhibit is going to be in San Francisco. I certainly wish I could see it. It's tragic how people who want to control our minds destroy knowledge in whatever form. So much wonder has been lost. Enjoy your trip!

Gretchen Joanna said...

Oh, my, that *would* have been fascinating. I was quite taken with the tapestries my daughter and I were able to see in Scotland -- and the armor of those English kings! I could only stare and stare.... It's wonderful that you could see this exhibit, but, what a lot to take in!

DVArtist said...

OMGosh what a fabulous post. Fist good for Mike for doing the training. I am sure he certainly does have some stories to tell. You are so fortunate to be able to visit this incredible museum I am so thankful you share it all with FFO. Have a wonderful weekend.

Nancy said...

How wonderful for you to get to see more friends and family!
I know the Cleveland Art Museum very well. I lived in Cleveland for 34 years.
The Tudors exhibit was spectacular. Those tapestries are incredible!
And I applaud your friend in going to Ukraine to train people. Amazing!
Enjoy Cleveland!

Jenny Woolf said...

What fabulous exhibits! I'd have loved to have gone. It must've been terrific to see all these amazing items in one place.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Fabulous exhibit Jeanie, thank you for taking us along!
Jenna

Sandra Cox said...

Have a wonderful Sunday, Jeanie.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, how wonderful to be able to see such an exhibit without having to fly to the UK! Glad you had such an enjoyable trip. I think you should paint Rick riding a bike in armor!

anno said...

Jeanie, your gift for telling a complicated story in an easy and engaging way comes to the fore here. (Maybe something you have in common with those amazing tapestry-makers?) Regardless, what a rich -- and enriching! -- exhibition! Thanks so much for the fabulous pictures.

Linda Stoll said...

oh I do love a long day at a good museum. it's time for another visit ...

Andrea @ From The Sol said...

Travel, good friends and then a trip to the museum on top of that ... lucky you. And the Tudor period art and tapestries are awe-inspiring. The tapestries ... can you even imagine the hours of work and planning and creating that went into just one of them. Oh my goodness, I don't think todays artists have that kind of patience. I was taken back by the book burning. It has been years since I studied history and I don't remember that books were burned in England. Makes you wonder, doesn't it, if the history we know is really a rewritten version meant to make somebody or bodies look better? Brings to mind the effort to rewrite our history that is going on in several of our states now. They are not burning books (that I am aware of), but banning books does deprive us of truths that we are entitled to. I wonder, if there even is a future, will people be reading a rewritten version of our times. This had to be an overwhelmingly wonderful experience for you ... you are blessed, Jeanie ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Rita C at Panoply said...

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed the virtual tour!

Buttercup said...

Pretty sure this is the same exhibition I saw at the Metropolitan Museum earlier this year. What an amazing show!
On a different note, our Michigan get-together in June isn't going to happen. Disappointed, but hoping our paths will cross at another time.

Hena Tayeb said...

A fascinating exhibition. I learned a lot more about King Henry and his wives when we went to go watch the musical SIX.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeanie,
WOW!! That looks like it was quite an exhibit!! Glad you got to reconnect with friends!! Thanks so much for your visits!! I hope you are having a great week!!
Hugs,
Deb

CrystalChick said...

Jeanie, it's great you got to get away to attend a wedding and connect with family and friends! I'm sure your friend did have interesting things to share about working in Ukraine.
WOW, what an exhibit!! And such a fascinating time in history. Thank you for sharing about it. I enjoyed all the nice photos.
~Mary

R's Rue said...

Have a beautiful day.

Pam said...

Well, how nice! I need to take me some fast, one day field trips..

crackercrumblife said...

Wow this is amazing! What a great exhibit to view! And that ornate armor is something else!

Carola Bartz said...

This sounds like a very well presented exhibition where you actually can learn something. The art is fascinating - how much time it must have taken to create those tapestries. Stained glass is always stunning, I think.

Lowcarb team member said...

This certainly gets a big WOW from me!
What a wonderful exhibition, your photographs show it so well.

All the best Jan

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What a fascinating exhibit! The Tudors sure knew how to do it with pomp and elegance!

Anonymous said...

Great photos of great art. Thanks

Love Cath πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ¨

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