December 17, 2017
Dr. William Rimmer (1816-1879), Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, c.1845, oil on canvas, 23 15/16 x 20 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of C. Joseph Bowdring in memory of John Castano, 1980.
This scene of England’s King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn may have been inspired by an episode from Shakespeare’s “Life of Henry the Eighth,” which describes an early encounter between the king and his future queen. Rimmer invokes historic costume and setting in depicting this flirtatious exchange. Henry’s interest in Anne and his desire for an heir to the throne prompted his efforts to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. His actions set off the English Reformation; he contested the power of the Catholic Church and rejected the authority of the Pope, which led to his excommunication from the faith on December 17, 1538.
This piece was last exhibited at the MOA in the 150 Years of American Painting exhibition in 2005.