"Art is not what you see but what you make others see", Edward Degas' belief that the artist could create a conversation between himself and the viewer has been a guiding force for many artists through the years, not dependent on heritage, nationality or medium and we see in this exhibition that all of the artists have this guiding force. From music to sculpture, design to painting, they all have the true sense and understanding of the artisan.
It was always my intention to create a group of artists that in my mind were under represented, a group that was globally recognised. In particular a group that brought together different ideas and techniques. The concept of Royal Bridges was born, an artistic forum that challenges the role typically assigned to royalty globally - but as artists themselves - and not as patrons of the arts. Royal Bridges is comprised of leading artists from imperial, royal, princely and noble houses from around the globe, who are at the forefront of contemporary art, design, fashion and musical performances.
Throughout history, art in its various forms has been a pursuit - not merely an avocation for monarchs, princes and princesses - yet their artistic contributions are more often than not, overshadowed by their own lineages. We see this is the paintings by Queen Victoria as discussed in Matthew Dennison's essay 'Queen Victoria as Amateur Artist' he describes her desire to learn through her instructors Richard Westall and later Edward Lear. In Carole Musson's essay 'The Gardening Madness of Catherine the Great' we see that the Empress of Russia was a keen gardener, taking her inspiration from the gardens of England and recreating them in Russia. The love of nature and the rhythm of the seasons was ingrained in the Russian soul and the natural landscape style must have resonated with a people who spent many months in the dark and cold.
From there we look at the patronage of one of the oldest European families The Princes of Liechtenstein as described in Lydia Hansell's essay. Dating back to the Holy Roman Empire in 962AD, their rise and position in Austria has allowed them to be an almost unrivalled force in patronage of the visual and plastic arts. We finally look at the creation of the art foundation by Royalty from the Victoria and Albert Museum to Mathaf, Clementine Perrins looks at the influence of these spaces on the art they support and the collections that they have built over the past 160 years.
I felt that by looking historically at Royal families it placed the current artists within a lineage of art history that can be over looked. All of the great Royal Families of the world have been patrons of the arts and artists in their own rights, Royal Bridges is a formalization of these ideas that have been present for so many years. The Royal Bridges art movement steps in, to fill in the gap and contend the stereotype of royal patronage with the dearth of artistic talent, which is often associated with ruling houses.
Within this book we take an in depth look at the participating artists. The design expertise of HE doña Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada y Sentmenat, 12th Marchioness of Castelldosríus, Grandee of Spain, 19th Baroness of Santa Pau, and HRH The Dowager Princess of Tarnovo, Princess Miriam of Bulgaria, Duchess in Saxony, both show a merging of design and technique. Artists HIIH Count Bertram zu Castell-Rüdenhaussen, Maharajkumari Vidita Singh of Barwani, Prince Rostislav Rostislavovich Romanov of Russia, HRH Princess Lelli de Orleans e Bragança, HSH Princess Ede Sapieha-Różańska, and HRH Princess Sibylle of Prussia, all have an ability to create great artworks that reflect their knowledge of painting, colour and light. Sculptors HE Shaikh Dr Hassan bin Monhammed bin Ali Al Thani and HRH Duchess Diane of Württemberg, Princess d'Orléans show a talent for creating form and movement from metal. Finally two photographers who have distinct styles HRH Princess Sophie of Romania and HRH Princess Reem bint Mohammed Al Faisal Al Saud. Without their participation the creation of this art movement would never have been possible.
RASHID AL KHALIFA