Tuesday February 21, 2023
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Presents the Exhibition The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Presents the Exhibition The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England

exterior of the CMA building

Newest exhibition features the iconic portraits, spectacular tapestries and precious objects that defined England’s golden age


CLEVELAND (February 21, 2023)—The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is pleased to announce the opening of The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England, the first exhibition in the US to trace the transformation of the arts in Tudor England. The exhibition captures the breathtaking scope of the finest artistic production of the English Renaissance, from intricately wrought armor and precious metal and porcelain objects to glittering tapestries woven with gold and portraits of sumptuously attired courtiers. The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England is on view from February 26, 2023, through May 14, 2023, in the CMA’s Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall.

Though the Tudor dynasty ruled for only three generations over 118 years, it oversaw the transformation of England from an impoverished backwater to a major European power operating on a global stage. The dynasty emerged from the devastation of the Wars of the Roses, which ended in 1485 when the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, claimed the throne. His son Henry VIII brought about England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church. Henry VIII’s son Edward VI’s tragically brief reign paved the way for Henry’s daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I: the first two women to rule the country in their own right.

During the volatile Tudor dynasty, an international community of artists and merchants, many of them religious refugees, navigated the high-stakes demands of royal patrons. Against the backdrop of shifting political relationships with mainland Europe, Tudor artistic patronage legitimized, promoted and helped stabilize a series of tumultuous reigns, from Henry VII’s seizure of the throne in 1485 to the death of his granddaughter Elizabeth I in 1603.

“The Tudor courts were truly cosmopolitan,” said Cory Korkow, curator of European paintings and sculpture, 1500–1800 at the CMA. “Fueled by political intrigue, inspired by romantic and spiritual fervor, art created for the English court was among the most sophisticated in the world. Tudor monarchs understood the diplomatic and propagandistic value of art.”

A vast network of celebrated and highly skilled foreign artists, including Florentine sculptors, German painters, Flemish weavers, French wood-carvers and many religious refugees, were key to enabling the Tudors to compete on an international scale. No English rulers before the Tudors invested so heavily in the artistic trappings of majesty. A distinctly English style emerged under the Tudors that was so influential, subsequent generations perceived the Tudors as the embodiment of the English golden age.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cleveland Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England builds on the rich holdings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and  brings together more than 90 loans from illustrious institutions including the British Royal Collection, Rijksmuseum, Folger Shakespeare Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museum of Denmark, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent.

A richly detailed, fully scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by The Met, with essays by the exhibition’s cocurators, Elizabeth Cleland and Adam Eaker; Marjorie E. Wieseman, curator and head of Northern European paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Sarah Bochicchio, PhD candidate in art history at Yale University and a former research assistant for European sculpture and decorative arts and European paintings at The Met. Catalogue entries incorporate recent, remarkable strides in Tudor scholarship, stimulating broader discussions of the artistic quality and cosmopolitanism of art at the Tudor courts.

The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England is made possible with support from Viia R. Beechler, Carl M. Jenks, Patty and Rodger Kowall and Robert and TuYa Shwab. 

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. 

All exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Exhibitions. Principal annual support is provided by Michael Frank and the late Pat Snyder and by the late Roy L. Williams. Major annual support is provided by the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Generous annual support is provided by an anonymous supporter, the late Dick Blum and Harriet Warm, Gary and Katy Brahler, Cynthia and Dale Brogan, Dr. Ben and Julia Brouhard, Brenda and Marshall Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., Richard and Dian Disantis, Leigh and Andy Fabens, Janice Hammond and Edward Hemmelgarn, Carl T. Jagatich, Cathy Lincoln, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, William S. and Margaret F. Lipscomb, Bill and Joyce Litzler, Carl and Lu Anne Morrison, Tim O’Brien and Breck Platner, William J. and Katherine T. O’Neill, Henry Ott-Hansen, Michael and Cindy Resch, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation, Margaret and Loyal Wilson and Claudia C. Woods and David A. Osage.

Member Preview Days

Members see it FIRST and for FREE!

Members can view The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England first on Member Preview Days, Friday, February 24, 2 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join today and reserve free tickets.

Ticket Pricing

Adults $15; seniors, students and children ages 6–17 $12; children 5 and under and CMA members free.

The CMA recommends reserving tickets through its online platform by visiting The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England exhibition webpage. Tickets can also be reserved by phone at 216-421-7350 or on-site at one of the ticket desks.

Tickets are expected to book quickly and are not guaranteed. Your first choice of date and time may not be available, so please have other date and time options in mind when reserving tickets. Advance ticket sales are highly recommended.

Exhibition tours are offered at 11:15 a.m. daily, February 26 through May 14, 2023.

Complementary Programming
Ruffs, Cuffs, and Codpieces: Fashion in Tudor England
Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 6 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
FREE; ticket required

Fashion historian and old master paintings specialist at Christie’s New York Jonquil O’Reilly brings portraits from the English Renaissance to life, breaking down the ostentatious ensembles worn by members of the Tudor court, decoding the symbolism in their sartorial choices and explaining the material and function of these elaborate garments and adornments.

O’Reilly writes and lectures on historical fashion as a means of contextualizing old master paintings, making them more approachable for new audiences. As “The Costumist,” she contributed regularly to Harper’s Bazaar online and has given fashion lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Royal Academy, Chatsworth House, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle.

This event is organized in conjunction with the CMA special exhibition The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England.

Pattern, Power, and Dress
Saturday, March 18, 2023, 12–4 p.m.
Ames Family Atrium

Every third Saturday of each month, stop by the Ames Family Atrium between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. to get a firsthand look at the art-making process. Each session will provide you the opportunity to engage and interact with a different Northeast Ohio maker during pop-up demonstrations and activities. See their work unfold and learn how artists create.

Join artist Joanne Arnett in designing your own powerful, patterned costume. Take inspiration from portraits in the exhibition The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England, costumes inspired by the English Renaissance, and as textiles and objects from the education art collection.

All education programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Education. Major annual support is provided by the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Generous annual support is provided by Brenda and Marshall Brown, Florence Kahane Goodman, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, and the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. Additional annual support is provided by Gail Bowen in memory of Richard L. Bowen, the M. E. and F. J. Callahan Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., Char and Chuck Fowler, the Giant Eagle Foundation, the Logsdon Family Fund for Education, Roy Smith, and the Trilling Family Foundation.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is funded in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Education programs are supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261