CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Discovering Cornelius Johnson: Charles I’s Other Portraitist

Lecture: 16 April 2015

Information from the museum, 30 March 2015

Karen Hearn, curator of Charles I’s Forgotten Painter, introduces Cornelius Johnson, the King’s little-known ‘picture-drawer’.

Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661) was born in London to a Flemish/German migrant family. After his spell at court and on the outbreak of the Civil War, the 50-year-old Johnson emigrated to the Netherlands, creating a second successful career there. Johnson painted on every scale – from the tiny miniature to the big group portrait (like The Capel Family) – to produce delicate, sympathetic portraits that often emphasise his sitters’ fine lace collars and luxurious clothes.

Karen Hearn FSA was the Curator of 16th & 17th Century British Art at Tate Britain from 1992 to 2012, and is now an Honorary Professor at University College London. In 1995, she curated the landmark Tate exhibition Dynasties: Painting in Tudor & Jacobean England 1530-1630. Her 2002 show Marcus Gheeraerts II established the topic of the ‘pregnancy portrait’. Subsequently she curated the major Van Dyck & Britain (2009) and Rubens & Britain (2011-12) both at Tate Britain. Karen specialises in the art made in Britain between 1500 and 1710, and in the cultural links between Britain and the Netherlands during that period.

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