Art Inspired By Richard III’s Skull Is On Exhibit In London

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Richard III had a long and dramatic life — and even after his death, his remains are experiencing celebrity status.

The king’s remains were found during an archaeological excavation in 2012, under a city council parking lot in Leicester at a site that had once been a Medieval friary.

After extensive DNA testing, the team at the University of Leicester Archaeological Services announced that they had found King Richard III.

Now, a series of portraits based on X-ray images of the king’s skull are set to go on display in London.

British artist Alexander De Cadenet, who has created the images, is known for his skull portraits.

The X-rays are from the University of Leicester analysis of the royal remains. High quality X-rays, which can be taken as fast as 30 frames per second, were used to create records for extensive scientific analysis.

“I am extremely grateful to the University of Leicester for allowing me access to the X-ray scans, without which this creation would not be possible,” said De Cadenet. “His remains have been discussed and analyzed in such scientific detail, I felt he was an extremely appropriate subject to be present as his skull is likely the most recognizable and iconic in the world today.”

The first of a six-portrait series will go on display at a gallery in London, from April 14 until April 25.

Indeed, Richard III has already stirred the creative minds — a facial reconstruction was commissioned by the Richard III Society, and a large photo-mosaic portrait was revealed on the first anniversary of his discovery.

History and literature enthusiasts were aghast — and fascinated — when medical scanners found that the king had died of devastating injuries. Two large wounds were found at the base of his skull.

“Alexander’s bold and inventive interpretations of King Richard III break the mold of traditional portraiture by using University of Leicester X-ray scans with personalized elements relating to his character, including a crown,” said Dave Hall, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Leicester. “The discovery by the university has been represented in many different forms, including college plays and graphic illustrations.”

Hall added, “We are pleased that it has had such a profound effect, not just on the scientific and historic communities, but in the arts as well.”


alexander de cadenet.

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