Anne Boleyn: Life and Legend
“Anne Boleyn: Life and Legend” explores the extraordinary figure of Anne Boleyn (1501 or 1507?–1536) as well as the dramatic and changing world she lived in. Her story has captivated audiences from the contemporary Tudor court of 1536 to the twenty-first century.
Anne was an influential and modern woman, navigating the constraints of a patriarchal society to find agency. Anne and Henry VIII’s (1491–1547) affair led him to break from Catholicism and establish the Church of England. Anne married Henry and was crowned Queen in 1533. Their marriage would produce a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603). Yet only three years later, Anne would be accused of adultery, imprisoned, and beheaded. “ Anne Boleyn: Life and Legend” hopes to center Anne in her own narrative and to explore the relationship between gender and power in the Tudor era.
“Anne Boleyn: Life and Legend” hopes to understand the dichotomy between the historical figure of Anne Boleyn and the mythological Anne of art, literature, and film. The first part of the exhibit explores her life and world, while the second half traces Anne’s legacy in popular memory. The project incorporates materials from the Yale University Library collections, including the Lewis Walpole Library, the Haas Family Arts Library, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Film Archive, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and additionally the National Portrait Gallery, London.