@Courtier Robert, Social Media and Museums

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also read The Greatest Show on Earth, The New Museum Experience, Abundance of Art at the Palace Versailles, and The Soane Museum.

Until next time,


Mary Jo



Filed under June

5 responses to “@Courtier Robert, Social Media and Museums

  1. Great Interview! Love the new slide show feature, very cool 🙂

  2. Thanks Gene! Took a while to get the slideshow under control, programmer I am NOT.

  3. Great interview Mary Jo! I was wondering about the origins of Courtier Robert – an increasing amount twitterfolk project personalities of the particular areas they are interested in, so it was interesting to know Courtier Robert was moreso a conscious decision to promote the arts online.

    Good to see yougot the slideshow working, nice and neat! For those curious, Robert’s ,or should be we Roberto’s portrait is actually ‘Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman’ – which is now at the NGA Washington – it is one of the works believed to have been started by Giorgione and finsihed by Titian after his death. More info here: http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg16/gg16-399.html

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Thanks H! I was not sure about the origins of that painting, and I am glad you included all the necessary information. As usual, you are a treasure trove of detail, and I appreciate it!

  5. Long live spirits of ages past.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s