After reading about it and seeing lots of photos of it online and in books I finally FINALLY got a chance to see Pieter Breughel’s great painting Massacre of the Innocents, at the Queens Gallery Buckingham Palace, yesterday.
The painting is part of an exhibition about King Charles II. He purchased it and clearly valued it highly.
Charles II was king from 1660 -1685. He’s interesting for a lot of reasons – as a patron of the arts, he commissioned and collected loads of amazing works which are in this exhibition. Great paintings by Dutch and English artists, plus he collected Italian art too. The exhibition has many of these works and is a feast for the eyes.
Charles patronised Christopher Wren, who rebuilt London after the Great Fire, creating St Paul’s and other exquisite buildings that still characterise the best of London.
He also patronised science, and founded the Royal Society.
There are a few films that feature Charles II as a character. He was pretty complex, neither hero not villain, but could be portrayed as either, depending how you want to cut it. My favourite film featuring Charles is The Libertine.
It was a really fascinating exhibition.