Monday, November 13, 2017

18th Century Royalty in Minneapolis

On Friday during a wonderful trip to the Twin Cities, I had the pleasure of visiting the outstanding exhibit Eyewitness Views: Making History in 18th-Century Europe at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Full of magnificent paintings of splendid occasions related to Spanish, Neapolitan, French, Austrian, Danish, and Saxon royalty, this is a must-see for American monarchists. Created for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, it's in Minneapolis until the end of the year, after which it will be in Cleveland. Highly recommended if you're near or able to visit either of those cities.

I also visited the American Swedish Institute, where the Grand Hall of the 1908 Turnblad Mansion features portraits of King Oscar II (1829-1907) and King Gustaf III (1746-1792), and attended mass at the Church of St. Agnes where the Catholic culture of the Habsburg empire is alive and well with Viennese style orchestral masses on Sundays throughout the year, in this case Dvorak's Mass in D. It was great fun to meet up in person with a few Minnesota monarchist friends with whom I had previously communicated only via Facebook.

A paradox. On the one hand, for an American to be a self-proclaimed "Monarchist" is fairly unusual. Yet at the same time, the aesthetics of Monarchy are so obviously and universally appealing, it is not hard in the USA to find art exhibits that celebrate them. And if I were the only one who liked them, these exhibits wouldn't be viable. Here are the catalogue books for seven major exhibits on monarchical and aristocratic themes I've attended in recent years, all but the latest one in Texas. I'm anxious though that Monarchy not be confined in the popular imagination to the past, as it still has so much to offer the present and future.

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