The Museum of Fine Arts
February 17th through July 21st
Valentine’s Day, February 14, marks the wedding anniversary of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, King of Bohemia to Elizabeth Stuart. It’s the perfect day to unveil Gerrit van Honthorst’s painting Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The couple portrayed in van Honthorst’s recently conserved masterwork is often referred to as the Winter King and Queen, due to the brevity of his reign, which was just over a year. The painting, measuring 10 feet by 15 feet, dates back to 1636, and functions as the focal point of a multimedia experience that explains the imagery of the piece. In the piece, Elizabeth sits, surrounded by her children, in a golden chariot being pulled by three lions. Her husband and eldest son, Fredrick Henry, look down from the heavens above. Both were deceased when the painting was realized. Neptune, Envy, and Death lay crushed by the spiked wheels of the chariot.
Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, and Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. And while she briefly ruled Bohemia with her husband, the man who immortalized them in this epic painting was Dutch. As a young man, he visited Rome and was highly influenced by Caravaggio. Upon his return to Holland, he became an acclaimed portrait artist both in his homeland and abroad. Indeed, it was under the patronage of the English monarch that he painted Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just. The artist went on to have storied career and his best remembered for works depicting not only royalty, but scenes featuring tavern goers, including musicians, gamblers, and other commoners. The exhibit is featured on the Museum’s Lorrin Gallery, and through various traces, shows the tumultuous personal and political tribulations of the Winter King and Queen. The event runs from February 14 through July 21, 2013. Founded in 1870 The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston contains over 450,000 pieces of art. It is located 465 Huntington Avenue, and is easily accessible via the Green Line (E Branch) as well as the Orange, Franklin, and Providence/
Stoughton transit lines. For more information, visit mfa.org