Treasures reunited at the Royal Academy
During his reign, Charles I acquired and commissioned a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures, including pieces by Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck, rendering him one of the most significant art collectors (and influencers) of any monarch in British History. Following his execution in 1649, Oliver Cromwell swiftly confiscated the collection and either diplomatically ‘gifted’ or sold it to foreign states. The pieces were dispersed across Europe, and no one imagined that the works would ever find their way back to the United Kingdom.
However, this January, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Collection Trust have reunited around one hundred and fifty of these spectacular works for the first time since the seventeenth century – a feat that not even Charles II had managed to accomplish. It took two years for the curators to gather these precious works from some of the most prestigious galleries in Europe. Monumental portraits of the king and his family by Anthony van Dyck, Charles’ official court painter, form the core of the exhibition.
Charles I: King and Collector is a fantastic opportunity to view a collection that transformed the appreciation of art in England, and runs at the Royal Academy until the 15th of April.