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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Artwork of the day

Katharine of Aragon, Michael Sittow, c.1502, oil on panel, 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Katharine is famous as the first wife of Henry VIII, the mother of Queen Mary I and the woman the king struggled to divorce in order to marry his second wife Anne Boleyn.
However, Katharine, a Spanish princess came first in England to marry Henry's brother and heir to the throne, Arthur. Arthur died six months after their marriage and Katharine remained in England not sure of her role while her father and father in law negotiated her fate.
This portrait was probably created in Katharine's Princess Dowager days and shows a young princess pensive and somewhat melancholic. Life in England was definitely not good for Katharine during these days as her future was uncertain and Henry VII was far from generous and kind with her. It is interesting to note that Katharine did not look like a Mediterranean brunette as she is often portrayed in popular culture today. She had auburn hair and a pale complexion. 

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