Saturday, April 11, 2009

henry the king

The Tudors are back, and it looks like we're in for some interesting intrigue. Would Henry VIII have been able to inflict as much personal damage if he had a computer? Or would he have been surfing the 'net on dating sites all day trying to find the perfect brood mare?

In the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden there are banners displaying the museum's portrait highlights. One banner features a Holbein portrait of Henry's son, Edward VI, as a child. It's one of the few portraits of children that displays the family's rank and wealth (primary function) while also showcasing a chubby-faced baby boy that looks like a real child and not some strange miniature adult (bonus). Cute kid. Holbein later gained a reputation from Henry himself of being too flattering a portraitist (the "deceptive" Anne of Cleves portrait debacle that cost matchmaker Cromwell his estates, property and life).

It will be interesting to see how the series continues, through his third and fourth wives and whether it is willing to continue to follow this most famous of English monarchs through his old, dissipated aging. Or will it stick to the young, petulant, spoiled beauty of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who has been sowing hints of megalomania through the first two series and now looks ready to let 'er rip. They are dealing with his health issues (leg ulcer). And feeling less than great can definitely spoil one's mood, so when it's a person with the power of life and death...

Let Henry enjoy a brief bit of happiness as his first legitimate son is born. Then look out, everybody...


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