Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is this what Henry VIII really looked like?

Tudor author and historian Derek Wilson claims that the paintings we see and associate with Henry VIII - the strong magnificent King, with his feet apart and displaying a multitude of power- was all really just propaganda.

The painting was commissioned during a time when Henry needed the most ego boost. At age 45, Henry was getting old, no longer the active youth he use to be, with the ulcer on his leg hindering on his health and attitude. He was growing fat (as shown by the previous blog post regarding his armour). His reign had just suffered a political rebellion from the North containing thousands of his subjects who were unhappy with the dissolution of the monasteries- and worse, he still had no son to show for it all.

I agree with Wilson - it makes sense because we know that a lot of portraits painted at the time were for PR purposes, a prime example being marriage proposals. Anne of Cleves, as we know, looked nothing like her portrait painted for Henry and he was sorely disappointed and unsatisfied with the looks of his fourth wife when he finally met her.

Read more:
Was Hans Holbein's Henry VIII the best piece of propanda ever?

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, of course... Just as King Charles II was always painted 4 shades whiter than he was! He was in fact very dark olive skin toned. :)