Thursday, February 25, 2010

Struck

I'm not often moved by art - well not art of the paint and brush variety anyway - but as the doors opened and I stepped off the tube train this evening, right in front of me was a poster advertising an exhibition that's just opened at The National Gallery highlighting the work of Paul Delaroche.

The poster featured a close up zoom of what is obviously the major work featured in the exhibition. As soon as I saw the picture and the name Lady Jane Grey I knew what was being depicted. I've tried to reproduce the zoom in the jpg below.



For those of you not quite up to speed with your 16th century Eng. Hist., Lady Jane Grey was our shortest reigning monarch. She was on the throne, depending on how you interpret the dates, for between nine and thirteen days before being beheaded and that's all most people generally know about her.

Given that one is drawn to the eyes in any portrait work, seeing a painting where the main subject is blindfolded would, you instinctively think, detract from the effect but in this piece it absolutely is the effect.

Lady Jane Grey was it appears, something of a patsy. Her card was marked the moment the machinations of state got to work and decided she was to become queen at the age of only 16 or perhaps 17. Intelligent, elegant and sophisticated at a time when none of these attributes were particularly required, she appears to have been sanguine to her fate although you could look at the above picture for hours and wonder at what her state of mind might have been. Yes, you can say that there may be a great deal of artistic licence going on here but in the absence of photography 400 years ago, artistic licence was the order of the day. As was tradition, she was obliged to pay the executioner who then asked her forgiveness which she gave.

I am moved.

4 comments:

nursemyra said...

Even more moving when I clocked enlarge. Beautiful

nursemyra said...

clicked clicked clicked

sabrina said...

Disturbing.......

King of Scurf said...

You're both right. But how can something be both beautiful and disturbing? I don't know....but it is.