Anthony Van Dyck, Charles I on Horseback, c. 1637 (National Gallery, London). In the 1600s, nation-states coalesced around a central monarch. Several assertive kings — known as the "divine" monarchs — insisted they were all-powerful, claiming that their right to rule came directly from God. Chief among these was Charles I (1600-1649), king of England. Having alienated Anglicans (Church of England), harder-line Protestants (Puritans) and democrats everywhere, Charles lost his head when the monarchy was overthrown. Picture Charles' sensitive face (with scholar's eyes and artist's long hair and beard) severed from his elegant body (in horse-riding finery) and you've arrived quickly at the heart of England's Civil War.