The Palace at Stirling Castle allows visitors to step into the astonishing richness of royal life in the 1500s.
James V’s Palace at Stirling is one of the finest and best-preserved Renaissance buildings in Great Britain. Following a major programme of research and re-presentation, it can now be seen by visitors much as it may have looked on completion around 1545.
The decoration of the Palace’s six main rooms is overwhelmingly colourful, rich and elaborate. James and his French wife Mary of Guise aimed to present themselves as wealthy, learned and sophisticated.
The decorative style belongs to the Renaissance – a great flowering in arts, literature and philosophy that revolutionised Europe in the 1400s and 1500s. Bright colours, expensive fabics and ornate patterns were essential elements.
But this was not flamboyance for its own sake. The decorative scheme was filled with messages about power, prosperity and plenty. It was not limited to the interior chambers but also extended to the exterior walls, embellished with hundreds of statues and other stone-carvings.
As you will notice in the video above, now housed inside the palace of Stirling Castle is something near and dear to my heart...The Stirling Tapestries...
As part of the project to re-represent Stirling Palace, Historic Scotland has commissioned a set of seven hand-made tapestries. Four of them now hang in the Queen’s Inner Hall; the remaining three will be completed and hung by 2013.
The New York Tapestries
The designs are closely based on a set of Renaissance tapestries held at the Cloisters Museum in New York. These were woven in the Low Countries around 1500. At that time, tapestries were very fashionable and extremely expensive.
The project to produce replica tapestries has been part-funded by the Quinque Foundation of the United States.
The Story of the Unicorn
Taken together, the seven tapestries tell the story of a unicorn huntedand killed by a group of huntsmen and dogs. This can be read as both as an allegory of love, and as a Christian parable.
The unicorn was an important mythical beast from Roman times and perhaps earlier. It was believed to be both powerful and pure, and could only be tamed by a maiden.
In the late-medieval period, the unicorn was adopted as the supporter of the Scottish royal coat of arms. We know that James V owned two sets of tapestries featuring a unicorn.
For more information and further details on the refurbishment of, Stirling Castle
SECOND EXHIBIT: The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein Exhibit
17 June 2011 - 15 January 2012
LOCATION: EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: HOLYROOD PALACE
While there can be no doubt that the aesthetic and intellectual epicentre of the Renaissance was Italy, the traffic was not all one way.
Developments in northern Europe (most obviously the use of oil paint) had consequences for Italian art, the patronage of northern rulers extended to tramontane artists, and rivalries between the Valois and Habsburg dynasties added a competitive edge to commissions.
This show of 100 paintings, prints and drawings from the Royal Collection underscores this point. The works are distributed according to a geo-political plan.
Netherlandish haute bourgeois and humanist patronage is exemplified by works by Hugo van der Goes and Hans Memling; art production in the Holy Roman Empire is illustrated by Hans Baldung Grien, Ulrich Apt the Elder and Lucas Cranach; Louis XII, Francis I and Catherine de Médicis
commissioned French and Italian artists, represented by the Clouets, Jean Perréal and Leonardo.
Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein are allotted their own sections.
For more exhibit information, Holyrood Palace
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