Sunday, 12 February 2012

Best Actor in an ESCAPE

Charles II painted in exile, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1653
 One of the series of unintentionally hilarious paintings of Charles II’s Escape by Isaac Fuller commissioned after the Restoration to mythologize the true story of the king’s humility among the loyal common people who helped him when, disguised as a woodcutter, he was a fugitive after the Royalist defeat at Worcester in 1651. 
Charles’ familiar saturnine features are portrayed as they looked in his 30s, when he wore a periwig, not as the 21 year old youth he had been at the time of his greatest danger. The portrait by Philippe de Champaigne of the young king in exile was painted in Paris two years later in 1653.
Charles was a talented raconteur who fell into the habit of repeating the story of his escape too often at court to anyone who would listen, which does not preclude the profundity with which he felt his debt, personal and regal, to the courage and selflessness of his supporters, mostly Catholic recusants, excluded from privilege and power, who saved his life. 
[Image source: Wikipedia]