Frame story: Bridgerton and Velasquez

Inspired by Julia Quinn’s best-selling novels, the Bridgerton series chronicles the adventures of finding love and happiness in early 19th-century London high society; With its historical texture, romance, relationships and scandals, it transports the viewer back to that era. This feeling is not an accidental effect; The series’ production designers revealed that they shot at the museum locations to enhance the film’s immersive atmosphere and used the works in some museums’ art collections. If we look closely at the scenes, we find that almost every episode contains a work that plays an important role in art history. These works play a key role in the series’ storytelling, establishing relationships between the artwork and the characters, and highlighting the racial and sexual politics that guide the show’s narrative.

The most striking example among these is found in the scenes of Queen Charlottet, played by Golda Rosheuvel. We see a black queen in the historical series set among the aristocrats of 19th-century Britain, where colonialism was brutal. This situation leads audiences to wonder how right it is to distance themselves from reality while filming a historical drama in the name of political correctness. However, unlike other characters, the character of Queen Charlotte is not a fictional character but a real historical figure. Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, originally a German princess, had African roots through Portuguese royalty. Although the existence of England’s first ‘black queen’ is an often-forgotten truth, it resurfaced with Bridgerton. Queen Charlotte plays King IV of Spain. Felipe’s main painter appears before us with the scene before a portrait of Juan de Pareja painted by the Baroque painter Diego Velázquez. In this way we see that the interracial relationship of the work and the queen is reflected to us with her historical origins.

Pareja was born in Seville, Spain. He was a half-African, half-Hispanic hybrid.

He began life as a slave, working as a slave to the painter Velázquez. This portrait is the painting Velázquez made in preparation for the painting of the Pope during his trip to Italy where he painted the portrait of Pope Innocent X. Thus was created the earliest known portrait of a Hispanic male of African descent in history.

If you look at the walls of the museums where you will encounter the masterpieces of art history, all the important portraits are the work of European artists who lack the ethnic diversity of Europeans. When non-Europeans come into the works, these figures tend to be reduced to the role of servants and slaves as anonymous anonymous characters, or the works are never exhibited and rot in the artist’s studio. Velázquez exhibited this portrait as part of a major painting exhibition in the Pantheon. The critics, seeing the work for the first time, explained that the other works in the exhibition are paintings, but this portrait reflects the truth. If we look at the picture we see that Velázquez, who painted many nobles and palace surroundings due to his closeness to the Spanish king, also paints Pareja with the dignity we see in royal portraits; While Pareja’s confident stance, clothing, and direct gaze at the viewer make her look strong, the colors used by the artist also contribute to the model’s respectable pose and the character’s social status becomes invisible to someone considering her skin color. In 1654, 4 years after this painting was made, Peraja was freed and began painting, a profession forbidden to slaves.

In the series, the importance of this portrait is further enhanced; tells us that every skin color is as natural as white. Like Queen Charlotte, she is acting as a catalyst to reinvent a more diverse society during the Regency era. The Queen before the Portrait of Juan de Pareja; He absorbs his own likenesses, history and family tree while transforming Peraja’s image into an imaginary portrait of a black aristocrat. As we take in the balls, beautiful outfits and environments featured in each episode of the series, and Pareja and Charlotte’s confident attitudes, we begin to notice no physical difference between the people.

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