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Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist

Year: 2003, 35 mins
Code: Ill-Marcus

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Marcus Gheeraerts II (1561/2-1636) was one of the great portrait artists of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. A contemporary of William shakespeare, he painted many of the leading Britons of the time, including Elizabeth I. His 'Ditchley' portrait is one of the grandest and most enigmatic depictions of the Virgin Queen, but he also produced haunting and beautiful portraits of leading statesmen and soldiers, and of their wives and children. 

One of Gheeraerts' specialities appears to have been the 'pregnancy portrait'. These paintings of obviously pregnant women may have been celebrations of dynastic continuity, but they may also have been intended to record the features of a beloved wife about to face the sometimes fatal consequences of childbirth. 

Produced alongside Tate Britain's 2003 exhibition devoted to Gheeraerts, this film features an interview with curator Karen Hearn, as well as contributions from Tarnya Cooper, National Portrait Gallery, and Lavinia Wellicome. Gheeraerts' life and work is explored together with important general questions about the meanings and contexts of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century painting.

Marcus Gheeraerts was a Flemish artist working at the Tudor court, described as "the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between Eworth and Van Dyck" He was brought to England as a child by his father Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, also a painter. Illumination is an American film and animation studio founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007 and owned by Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal, which is itself a division of Comcast. Meledandri produces the movies while Universal finances and distributes all the films. The Bridgeman Art Library, based in London, Paris, New York, and Berlin, provides one of the largest archives for reproductions of works of art in the world. Founded in 1972 by Harriet Bridgeman, the Bridgeman Art Library cooperates with many art galleries and museums to gather images and footage for licensing.

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