Skip to comments.X-rays Reveal Hidden Secrets of Tudor Portraits
Posted on 01/04/2013 6:41:32 AM PST by marshmallow
National Portrait Gallery surprised to find image of the Virgin and Child under painting of Queen Elizabeth I's loyal spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham
He was the eyes and ears of Elizabeth I, the loyal spymaster and ruthless counterterror chief: Sir Francis Walsingham was the man who knew everything. Or not quite everything, it seems. Certainly not that his portrait was secretly painted over an overtly Roman Catholic image of the holy Virgin and Child.
He would not have been delighted, speculated Dr Tarnya Cooper, standing in front of the remarkable new discovery going on show at the National Portrait Gallery. You do wonder if the artist might be enjoying a private joke."
The gallery on Thursday opened a display showing x-rays of devotional paintings it has discovered underneath its portraits of two key Tudor statesmen. As well as a Virgin and Child under Walsingham, researchers found A Flagellation of Christ under the Queens lord treasurer Thomas Sackville.
The Walsingham portrait dates from the 1580s when Protestant England was isolated and supporting the war in the Netherlands against the Spanish.
The Catholics are the absolute enemy at this period so the idea that youve got this wonderful devotional image underneath your portrait would probably be rather horrifying to him, Cooper, the NPGs chief curator, said.
It was a surprise finding. There is not very much that Walsingham does not know about of whats going on in courts across Europe, he has a huge network of informers, is an incredibly wily man and is someone with a public reputation. For somebody who is not wonderfully keen on Walsingham this would be a clever way of getting at him."
The NPG believes it cannot be accidental that after x-raying more than 120 Tudor portraits and mostly finding nothing, it found an image......
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
Slightly related: It is said of Guy Fawkes that he was the only man who ever enter parliament and be honest about his intentions.
recycling in action.
Notice the Economist has the portrait of the spymaster, yet lacks the image of Madonna & Child. Why don’t they delete Walsingham? Cynical minds want to know?
Images, pictures and lies. Deception, there’s nothing new under the sun. Solomon
Hah, that was my first thought too. Merrie old England was going green back then.
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