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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Artwork of the day

The Family of Henry VII, unknown artist of the Flemish School, 1505-1509, oil on panel, The Royal Collection
The whole family of Henry VII including all seven children he had with Elizabeth of York, although four of them were probably dead by the time of the creation of the painting.(which was created probably to serve as an alterpiece). The family is kneeling as a battle unfolds above them. Their patron saint, St George is fighting with the dragon. It is this scene that makes the painting unique. While the lower part is a traditional votive scene, the upper part is not a traditional treatment of the subject. Usually, St George appears in art triumphant. In this case however, the outcome of the battle seems still undecided and although the viewer knows the outcome, the tension reminds of an actual battle like the ones Henry VII had to give in order to secure the crown and the stability of his kingdom. As St George eventually wins the dragon, so the king reached his goals and the presence of his children shows that the continuation of his dynasty is secured.

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