Anne of Cleves

It’s the anniversaries of the celebrations of the marriage of Anne of Cleves so I thought I’d share an update.

Each time I follow another seam of evidence I come back to the same answer. Each time I try to break that answer, I find several authors who can back it up even more vividly with records.

I’m bothered by the misinformation about Anne existing in the first place, I suspect I know why it exists, but also by why we seem to keep repeating it as if the misinformation is real. Over the far more interesting pieces we have.

This even affects the artwork. The St John’s portrait is not original. It’s just not. There is confusion in every element of clothing that the workshop of a North Rhine artist just would not misunderstand.

These four images help explain. The left is a portrait of Elisabeth Bellinghausen. The luminosity and depth of facial features are distinctive. Next is the Bernal/Rosenbach portrait of Anne. The similarity of care in shadows around and under her chin follows the same care.

Next is the St John’s copy. While there is an attempt to copy her features it’s in a very different style.

To the right is a portrait said to be of Anne Boleyn with her features a bit cold, and pulled back. The St John’s portrait is more related to this than anything from the Bruyn workshop. She looks like she belongs on a playing card because of the flatness of the painting. The attempt to create dimension results in very hard lines around the eyes especially.

I suspect the Bernal/Rosenbach portrait was copied locally (the wood came from the Black Forest so I need to look into the trade in art supplies) and the artist tried to extrapolate what was going on under her <<benet/bonit.>> I suspect I might know why they didn’t just copy it, but that’s for a much more in depth chapter.

I also need to share the provenances of different portraits and that gets super weird. And results in some interesting takes in costume history books due to the incorrect attributions.

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