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Game of Thrones at The Ringling

Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones (or the novels on which it is based) know that the land of Westeros is filled with fascinating characters.  Visitors to The Ringling know that the same can be said of the Museum of Art.  In fact, some of the works in The Ringling’s collection bear a striking resemblance to the people and places of Game of Thrones.  Check out our picks:

QueenDany         La Sultana Rossa

Daenerys Targaryen ->     Studio of Titian, La Sultana Rossa, 1550s, SN58

Daenerys Targaryen is a silver-haired Westerosi exile who unexpectedly becomes “mother of dragons” and khaleesi of exotic kingdoms in the East.  La Sultana Rossa, the wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, is shown here with sumptuous royal dress, a confident gaze, and her very own feisty pet.  If Daenerys sat for a portrait, do you think it might look something like this?


Cersei Lannister         Salome

Cersei Lannister  ------------------>  Robert Henri, Salome, 1909, SN937

Cersei Lannister is the villain you love to hate.  She uses her seductive beauty in a constant attempt to win the game of thrones, heedless of those she hurts in the process.  The dangerously sensual Salome also used her wiles to manipulate the powerful.  Tell us: Who’s your favorite femme fatale?

King Robert and Family     Portrait of a Family Group

Robert Baratheon and his children  --------->  Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, Portrait of a Family Group, ca. 1561-1565, SN83

King Robert Baratheon and his (in)famously blonde heirs are an interesting portrait in family dynamics.  The gruff and hearty king contrasts with the aloof Joffrey, sweet and gentle Myrcella, and innocent young Tommen.  In Fasolo’s family portrait, a grizzled father stands with a similar trio of blonde children.  What might that boy and his hound be plotting?

           The Lottery Drawing in Piazza Delle Erbe

King’s Landing  -------------------------->  Giovanni Michele Granieri, The Lottery Drawing in Piazza Delle Erbe, Turin, 1756, SN195

King’s Landing is the bustling capital of Westeros, a port city where marble palaces overlook squalid streets and courtiers rub elbows with thieves and beggars.  In Granieri’s Drawing of the Lottery, we see a similar intermingling of social classes amidst the chaos of commerce.  What conversations might be taking place in this raucous crowd?

John Snow                  An Allegory of Study

Jon Snow ---------------------------->  Salvator Rosa, An Allegory of Study, ca. 1649, SN152

Pensive Jon Snow is a conflicted, yet strong leader who reflects often on his oath as a brother of the Night’s Watch.  In Allegory of Study, Salvator Rosa gives us the perfect depiction of just such a brooding young man, caught in a moment of moral or intellectual contemplation.  What do you suppose is occupying the thoughts of this man in black?

Dire Wolf         Wolf with Romulus and Remus

Direwolf -------------------------->  Chiurazzi Foundry, Wolf with Romulus and Remus, early twentieth century, SN5003

The direwolf is the famed sigil of House Stark, and a litter of direwolf pups becomes intertwined with the lives of the Stark children.  Likewise, a mythical she-wolf of ancient Roman legend sheltered and provided for the human twins Romulus and Remus.  In this copy of a classical bronze, she is shown nursing the two boys.  What animal would you want watching over your life?

Jaime Lannister            An Allegory Representing the Glory and Magnanimity of Princes

Jamie Lannister  ------------------->  Giovanni Batista Tiepolo, An Allegory Representing the Glory and Magnanimity of Princes, 1758-1760, SN652

Famous throughout Westeros as the golden-haired, imposing knight of the Kingsguard, Jamie Lannister is the ultimate warrior.  His coat of arms, which bears the lion of House Lannister, is echoed in the figure of the soldier in this allegorical fresco by Tiepolo.  Behind him looms an imperious woman – who might she be?


Sansa Stark                Girl Playing with a Bird on a String

Sansa Stark -------------------------->  Jean Raoux, Girl Playing with a Bird on a String, 1717, SN 375

We meet Sansa Stark as a frivolous adolescent eager to find love and glamour in King’s Landing.  Soon, trapped in a violent royal engagement, the fair maiden learns that life is not the beautiful dream she imagined it to be.  The young girl depicted in Jean Raoux’s painting resembles Sansa in beauty and youthful innocence.  Yet, she appears to take delight in toying with the helpless bird tied to her finger.  The viewer wonders: is Sansa more like the girl or the bird?

Join us for our Game of Thrones in the Museum of Art.

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