Archive for the ‘Northern Renaissance’ Category

On King Henry VIII’s Other “Great Matter”

In Northern Renaissance on February 14, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Applying any adjective to describe the influence throughout culture and history to King Henry VIII does him no justice. Henry is known probably most of all by his knack of taking wives, with numerous documentaries, books and dramas dedicated to the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. His first marriage to Katherine of Aragon and his infatuation with Anne Boleyn produced one of the most detailed divorces of the Renaissance, deemed “The Great Matter”. However, throughout Henry’s reign, another great matter proves to be Henry’s large focus beyond his marital affairs.

King Henry VIII was schooled by Erasmus, considered one of the greatest thinkers of his time and a close friend to another great humanist who later became one of Henry’s many Lord Chancellors, Thomas More. This instilled in Henry a humanist sense within, which would later prove to be the seeds that would overcome his Catholic upbringings and help to bring about the Reformation of the Church of England. And from this split from the Pope’s authority and the Catholic Church of Rome, the inspiration for one of the greatest depictions of King Henry VIII’s reign came to a German painter employed by the king; Hans Holbein.

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