Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestry at the Tudor Court
Presented by Thomas P. Campbell Saturday, September 21, 2019, 10 am Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum
Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission. Cash or checks only.
Luxurious, beautiful, and portable, tapestry was the pre-eminent art form of the Tudor court. Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) amassed an unrivaled collection over the course of his reign. In this lecture, tapestry scholar Thomas P. Campbell, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will weave the history of this magnificent collection into the life of its owner. Now largely dispersed or destroyed, Campbell will reassemble Henry’s extensive inventory and reveal how, through tapestry, Henry identified himself with historic, religious, and mythological figures, putting England in dialogue―and competition―with the leading courts of Early Modern Europe while promoting his own religious and political agendas at home. He will also shed light on Tudor political and artistic culture and the court’s response to Renaissance aesthetic ideals, and challenge the predominantly text-driven histories of the period to offer a fresh perspective on the life of Henry VIII.
Over his thirty-year career, Thomas P. Campbell has dedicated his life to the preservation, study and promotion of art as a gateway to human understanding. A distinguished art historian who was educated at Oxford and the Courtauld Institute, University of London, he joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995 as an assistant curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and supervising curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. As curator, he conceived and organized the acclaimed exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York, 2007; Madrid, 2008). The 2002 exhibition was named “Exhibition of the Year” by Apollo Magazine and its catalogue won the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award (College Art Association) for distinguished exhibition catalogue in the history of art (2003). His book, Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court, a reappraisal of the art and patronage of the era, was published in 2007. From 2009 to 2017, he served as Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was appointed Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2018.
Image: The Family of Henry VIII, detail, 1545, Oil on Canvas, The Royal Collection Trust, unknown artist.