Actors and producers of the television show 'The Tudors'
Paris - Arab Today
Before the Tudors became TV stars they were, of course, one of the most important dynasties in Britain, and it's that historical face of the 16th-century royal family a new exhibition in Paris is showing.
The display, in the Museum of Luxembourg until July 19, brings together paintings of the five monarchs loaned by London's National Portrait Gallery -- including of notorious King Henry VIII -- along with objects and documents related to their reign.
"We wanted to show how the royal image was used with the goal of it being spread among the subjects but also with a political aim, with portraits being exchanged to arrange unions between dynasties," said Cecile Maisonneuve, one of the exhibit's organisers.
Henry VIII, the Tudor king famous for breaking with the Roman Catholic Church to marry six times (and have the heads chopped off two of his ex-wives), stands big in the exhibtion.
A portrait shows him, overweight and bearded and forthright in ambition, standing legs apart with a fur-lined coat across his shoulders and sword hanging from his generous waist.
But the king's interest in introducing arts to develop the English Renaissance -- spurred by a desire to rival the French court of the time -- is also to the fore. Two paintings, for example, show Henry VIII and French King Francois I dressed almost identically.
"There was no English style of dress at the time," and Henry was keen to emulate his wealthier counterpart across the Channel, explained Charlotte Bolland of London's National Portrait Gallery, who is another of the exhibit's organisers.
The Tudors' reign ended with Elizabeth I, who ruled for 45 years to her death in 1603, childless and never married.
Various big- and small-screen productions have been made about the Tudor monarchs.
The most famous were the 1998 and 2007 films starring Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (a dress from which is displayed in the exhibition), and of course "The Tudors", the British-Canadian TV series starring John Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII that ran from 2007 to 2010.