Social Media has taken on many forms in the promotion of museums and current exhibitions. I have highlighted the Museo del Prado and the Louvre with their interactive characters that provide an expanded online experience for the viewer unfamiliar with their collections. But the Chicago Art Institute took social media a step further with their Kings, Queens and Courtiers exhibit by creating a Twitter personality, Courtier Robert. Commenting on all manner of things from Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, the scent of Axe, and Celebrity Apprentice, this nimble tongued creation also shared upcoming events at the museum, photos of the exhibition art and his own appearance at the Royal Wedding.
I was fortunate to obtain an interview with the cheerful wordsmith before his visit to Chicago ended with an undeserved treasonous charge.
Has the available technology improved the delivery of your message over the court proclamation system?
Soothfully, not since the famous homing pigeons of Genghis Khan have I e’er seen such an advanced system of heralding mumblenews. Yea have I heard your epoch trumpeted as the Information Age. I admit me rather disappointed to have missed out on the Cheeseburger Age. Mayhaps the utmost honor for mine own courtly proclamations should go to the Twitter. Doth boggle the mind to think a lowly wellborn noble from the backwoods of Bar-le-Duc would one day rise to become the Royal Twitterer of Tweets. Mefeels most humbled to have been charged thusly on behalf of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Who are your favorite court painters/artists and which of their works would we be familiar with?
Not to play the blustering braggart, but mefeels no greater epoch hath come to earth than our Renaissance era. Most amazed am I by the splendid work of the Master of Moulins, whom your scholars did recently out as the one Jean Hey. Yea twas he a friend and confidant of mine those moons ago and a marvelous painter of royal proportions! No doubt thou art well aware of Jean Bourdichon, the great French illuminator, but thou mayest not have yet heard tell of the heretofore obscure Botticelli—a misremembered marvel!
Would you care to share any personal experiences of Leonardo da Vinci, whose painting “Madonna of the Yarnwinder” is featured prominently in the exhibition and on your facebook page?
Aye, twas the year 1501 I met a military engineer, a strange man by the name of Leonardo. The fellow did call himself a painter, but I found dubious the claim for the man looketh every inch a guttersnipe. Nevertheless, as ye may know, Madonna of the Yarnwinder twas most likely a commission from a well-known French courtier. Nay, do I not claim twas me, but mehears this court royal was most charming and handsome and shone with the light of a thousand suns. Whomever he was, methinks him a hero for seeing promise in this young upstart they did call Leonardo.
What painters/artists will be visiting the court in the near future?
Before I did tarry hitherward to your fair tyme, word about court was of an imminent visit from Michelangelo, the Italian they call Il Divino. Much fawning hath been made o’er a statue of David the artist is working on. Sir Robert is no hater, but I know not what greatness can be wrought from tinkering with another sculptor’s creation. Knoweth everyone that the statue was originally the work of Agostino di Duccio afore the “Divine One’ began to tinker therewith.
Did you enjoy the modern ‘Royal Wedding’? Any comparison to weddings during the time of Louis XII?
Yea, a true courtier taketh to royal weddings like a swag-belly to pizza. Twas joyous to lo William and Kate’s most beauteous shindig, but I admit the festivities in my day twould surely outsport the most revelrous of parties. No wedding of olde was e’er complete without roistering debauchery, jousting tourneys, public flagellation, masked balls, mock ship battles, seahorse-drawn carriages, nymphs, satyrs, and dolphin-mounted tritons!
Are there any juicy/interesting bits of court intrigue you’d like to share with my readers?
Sir Robert hath n’er been much the flibbertigibbet but twould seem unbefitting a court royal to not say that our good King Louis XII hath been at last persuaded to update that atrocious coiffure he doth call his ‘do. The head of state ought to have a head that doth not shameface the nation. So sayeth the once and future courtier!
Sadly, Robert’s tenure at the Institute was not renewed, and he suffered the fate of the executioner’s axe. You can enjoy his tweets and enriching photo commentary @CourtierRobert on Twitter. My thanks to the Chicago Art Institute and Robert the Courtier for their time.
Until next time,