Charles I Calling for the Surrender of Five Members of Parliament, by J. S. Copley

Charles I Calling for the Surrender of Five Members of Parliament, by J. S. Copley
Charles I Calling for the Surrender of Five Members of Parliament, by J. S. Copley
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This is one of the most representative works of the artistic production of John Singleton Copley (1737 – 1815), an American artist who traveled to Europe and settled inEngland.

It was precisely there that he exhibited this painting for the first time in 1785, and the truth is that it caused stupor among those who contemplated it. To begin with, it is a somewhat unusual topic. He portrayed the historic moment whenKing Charles Ipetitioned theHouse of Commonsto arrest five of its members. To which the president of the chamber opposed thus challenging the monarch.

Charles I demanding the surrender of five Members of Parliament from Copley

Charles I demanding the surrender of five members of Parliament from Copley

It was a subject that had not been painted before, and chronologically it was not very far away. Instead it had to be an American painter who did it and also in a huge format painting. He also did it with a historicist criterion to the fullest. For this, he had scholars who advised him and then he tried to show all this information in the work with great detail, with the criterion of creating an image identical to the one that those who were present at that event could see.

Reported in depth about what the House of Commons was like in the 17th century, contact with antique dealersto find out about the furniture or costumes of the time. He even traveled to various places in Great Britain looking for the portraits of the historical figures of that event, to later transfer them to his work with the greatest possible fidelity. But in addition to all that hard work of documentation, you also have to take into account the historical context in which he made his work Copley.

The scene basically shows the confrontation between a king and the representatives of the people. Two years before he painted it, the king of the time George III had to face the challenge of the settlers of North America, the native country of the painter, and ended up signing the peace. I mean, the scene was not meaningless and had its own message. It is even said that when the queen saw it, she turned away from the painting and turned to the painter to say: “Mr. Copley, you could have chosen a luckier subject for the exercise of your brushes.”

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