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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Girolamo da Treviso (active c 1497-1544)

A Protestant Allegory c.1538-44

RCIN 405748

Haunted Gallery , Hampton Court Palace

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The subject refers to the English Reformation, formally marked by the Act of Supremacy of 1534, whereby Henry VIII broke away from the Church of Rome and was established as the head of the Church of England. This painting was in the collection of Henry VIII who owned at least two other anti-papal pictures. The composition depicts a pope sprawling on the ground, flanked by two female figures representing avarice and hypocrisy, all of who are being stoned by the four evangelists. On the ground in front of these figures are a cardinal’s hat and a document with four seals. The city in the left in the distance may be Jerusalem. Above the city is a burning candle, which contrasts with another in the immediate foreground that has been extinguished by a cooking pan. These candles have been interpreted as symbolising the true light of the Gospels and the false doctrine of Rome. Historically, the pope should be Paul III (1468-1549), but the depicted likeness is closer to Julius II (1443-1513).