February 14–July 21, 2013

Triumph of the Winter Queen

Love, warfare, exile, loss, triumph

Watch the story of the Triumph of the Winter Queen unfold in an immersive media experience, as Gerrit van Honthorst’s painting is brought to life. The tale is dramatized through passages from the royal couple’s letters, maps, music—and even falling snow.

On view in the Loring Gallery, Honthorst’s ode to the Winter King and Queen is told through a nine-minute film that explores the political and personal history of the celebrated couple and the characters symbolized in the painting. As you watch the story come alive, you begin to understand the elaborate allegory, the artist’s creation, and the age in which this magnificent painting was made. This recently conserved painting, measuring almost 10 feet by 15 feet and dated 1636, depicts Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia (the Winter Queen), seated on a chariot drawn by three lions and surrounded by her numerous children. Her beloved husband, Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate (the Winter King), and her oldest son, Frederick Henry, both deceased when Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656) painted this work, are bathed in a golden celestial light at left. And at the very bottom of the painting, the dramatic motif of Neptune, Envy, and Death being trampled by the chariot’s spiked wheels.

The film screens every 20 minutes, and there is ample seating in the gallery.

Above: Gerrit van Honthorst, The Triumph of the Winter Queen: Allegory of the Just, 1636. Oil on canvas. Anonymous loan.