Art and Magic in the Court of the Stuarts

Spanning from the inauguration of James I in 1603 to the execution of Charles I in 1649, the Stuart court saw the emergence of a full expression of Renaissance culture in Britain. Hart examines the influence of magic on Renaissance art and how in its role as an element of royal propaganda, art was used to represent the power of the monarch and reflect his apparent command over the hidden forces of nature. Court artists sought to represent magic as an expression of the Stuart Kings’ divine right, and later of their policy of Absolutism, through masques, sermons, heraldry, gardens, architecture and processions. As such, magic of the kind enshrined in Neoplatonic philosophy and the court art which expressed its cosmology, played their part in the complex causes of the Civil War and the destruction of the Stuart image which followed in its wake.

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