The Royal Academy of Arts, in partnership with Royal Collection Trust, presents Charles I: King and Collector, a landmark exhibition that will reunite one of the most extraordinary and influential art collections ever assembled. During his reign, Charles I (1600-1649) acquired and commissioned exceptional masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian and Mantegna, amongst others. Charles I was executed in 1649 and just months later the collection was offered for sale and dispersed across Europe. Although many works were retrieved by Charles II during the Restoration, others now form the core of collections such as the Musée du Louvre and the Museo Nacional del Prado.
Charles I: King and Collector will reunite around 150 of the most important works for the first time since the seventeenth century, providing an unprecedented opportunity to experience the collection that changed the appreciation of art in England.
Anthony van Dyck’s monumental portraits of the king and his family will form the core of the exhibition: his first major commission upon his arrival in England, Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Prince Charles and Princess Mary (‘The Greate Peece’), 1632 (The Royal Collection), and his two magnificent equestrian portraits, Charles I on Horseback with M. de St. Antoine, 1633 (The Royal Collection), and Charles I on Horseback, 1637-38 (The National Gallery, London). They will be shown together with Van Dyck’s most celebrated and moving portrait of the king, Charles I (‘Le Roi à la chasse’), c.1635 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which will return to England for the first time since the seventeenth century.
The exhibition is curated by Per Rumberg, Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, and Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures.