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Elizabeth and Representation “Most portraits of Elizabeth as queen are concerned with conveying an image rather than the truth of her appearance or character.

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Presentation on theme: "Elizabeth and Representation “Most portraits of Elizabeth as queen are concerned with conveying an image rather than the truth of her appearance or character."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elizabeth and Representation “Most portraits of Elizabeth as queen are concerned with conveying an image rather than the truth of her appearance or character. She never appears less than confident and regal.”

2 ICONOGRAPHY The images and symbolic representations that are traditionally associated with a person or a subject;

3 According to Roy Strong in Gloriana (1987), “the deliberate development of state festivals in glorification of rulers, the evolution of the palace as an architectural complex and the patronage of humanist poets and historiographers” were all ways in which rulers in early modern Europe consolidated their power and expanded the “Idea of Monarchy”

4  Elizabeth 1 attempted to control production and distribution of royal portraits  Invoked not individual likeness but “abstract principles of rule” (in neo-Platonist terms, “idea” or “form” of kingship)  Served moral function: portrayal of good ruler would encourage subjects to act virtuously  Took place of religious icons EG worship of Virgin Mary/worship of Virgin Queen  Lockets of Elizabeth worn like religious medals, symbols of sacred nature of royal person  1570s wearing of limnings of queen within jeweled lockets became fashionable  Played part in international politics / portraits of Elizabeth on continent often connected with marriage negotiations

5 Princess 1550-Queen 1565

6 1579 was turning point in Elizabethan portraiture??? year of first allegorical portrait of queen - connected with development of cult of Virgin Queen and myth of Golden Age related to knowledge queen would not marry, expectation of war with Catholic Spain, and growth of English maritime imperialism Motto of Semper Aedeum “ always the Same” was easily applied to her portraiture

7 Elizabeth I: The Darnley Portrait, 1575, by an unknown artist

8 Elizabeth I: The Pelican Portrait, c1575, attributed to Nicholas Hilliard. Along with Hilliard's equally famous 'Phoenix Portrait', this picture shows the growing stylization of images of the queen. Such stylization reached its apogee in the beautiful 'Rainbow Portrait‘ There is a closed imperial crown over each shoulder. The crown is on top of both a rose (on the left) and a fleur-de- lys (on the right.) These represent her dynastic claims to both England and France.

9 The Pelican pendant on her breast symbolizes charity and redemption. It represents the queen's selfless love of her subjects. How? According to legend, the pelican pricked its own breast to feed its children with the blood. Elizabeth wore a pelican jewel in several state portraits to remind the English of her equally selfless love.

10 The Peace Portrait1580-5, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder. In this portrait, the queen is the harbinger of peace. She holds an olive branch in her left hand and a sheathed sword lies at her feet. She is possibly wearing the same headdress, collar and girdle from the 'Ermine Portrait'. Also, both gowns are 'Polish style' with froggings. From the date, we can assume the symbolism refers to the turbulent situation in the Netherlands.

11 Elizabeth I: The Sieve Portrait, c1583, by Quentin Metsys the Younger. Elizabeth is portrayed with a sieve in a number of portraits. This one is referred to as either the 'Sieve Portrait' or 'The Siena Portrait', to distinguish it from the others. It is one of the few surviving works of Quentin Metsys the Younger and was discovered in 1895 The sieve is a symbol of chastity and purity,

12 The figure to the right of Elizabeth is possibly her courtier Sir Christopher Hatton. His white hind badge is just barely visible on the figure's cloak. If so, then it is possible that Hatton commissioned this portrait; he may have met Metsys during a trip to Antwerp in 1573.

13 Elizabeth did not like paintings which showed her age or physical decay. Her limner, Nicholas Hilliard, was asked to create a formalized image of the queen known as the “mask of youth”

14 Elizabeth I: The Ermine Portrait, 1585, by Nicholas Hilliard. Why is Elizabeth seated with an ermine? It was the symbol of royalty; and, if you look closely at the animal, you can see the gold crown it wears. The crown symbolizes majesty and purity. As for the bejeweled black gown and background - black and white were the queen's favorite colors. Also, the deep, dark color reinforces the symbolic gravity of the painting. In this portrait, Elizabeth wears the famous 'Three Brothers' jewel - a gem made of three diamonds set in a triangle around a pointed diamond. It was one of her most treasured jewels.

15 The sword of state rests on the table beside the queen and symbolizes justice; she also holds an olive branch to symbolize peace.

16 Elizabeth I: The Armada Portrait, c1588, unknown artist.. Symbolism is rife in this famous image, of which there are three versions. Once again, pearls - symbolic of purity - decorate the queen's head and gown. Next to her right arm is an imperial crown, and her right hand rests upon a globe - specifically, her fingers rest upon the Americas. In 1587, a year before this portrait was made, the first English child was born at the English settlement in Virginia. The crown and globe tell us that Elizabeth is mistress of land and sea.

17 In the background of the painting are scenes from the defeat of the Spanish Armada in It was the pivotal event of the latter half of Elizabeth's reign and a great triumph for the English. The queen is wearing a pearl necklace given to her by the earl of Leicester; it was Robert Dudley's last gift to the queen.

18 Elizabeth I: The Ditchley Portrait, c1592, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. The queen stands upon a map of England, with one foot resting near Ditchley. It celebrates Elizabeth's divine powers; a jeweled celestial sphere hangs from the queen's left ear, signifying her command over nature itself. The sphere had been Lee's emblem when he fought as Elizabeth's champion in the annual Accession Day tilts. The background of this portrait appears odd - it is split between blue and sunny sky on the left, and black and stormy sky on the right. This continues the theme of royal authority over nature. among the first to employ chiaroscuro (use of light and shade)

19 In 1592, Elizabeth's former champion, Sir Henry Lee, sought to regain her favor with lavish entertainment at his home in Ditchley, Oxfordshire. He had retired from court two years earlier, having offended the queen by living openly with his mistress. He commissioned this portrait to commemorate Elizabeth's visit and forgiveness.

20 Elizabeth I: The Rainbow Portrait, c1600, by Isaac Oliver. Elizabeth's gown is embroidered with English wildflowers, thus allowing the queen to pose in the guise of Astraea, the virginal heroine of classical literature. Her cloak is decorated with eyes and ears, implying that she sees and hears all. Her headdress is an incredible design decorated lavishly with pearls and rubies and supports her royal crown. The pearls symbolize her virginity; the crown, of course, symbolizes her royalty. Pearls also adorn the transparent veil which hangs over her shoulders. Above her crown is a crescent-shaped jewel which alludes to Cynthia, the goddess of the moon.

21 A jeweled serpent is entwined along her left arm, and holds from its mouth a heart-shaped ruby. Above its head is a celestial sphere. The serpent symbolizes wisdom; it has captured the ruby, which in turn symbolizes the queen's heart. In other words, the queen's passions are controlled by her wisdom. The celestial sphere echoes this theme; it symbolizes wisdom and the queen's royal command over nature. Elizabeth's right hand holds a rainbow with the Latin inscription 'Non sine sole iris' ('No rainbow without the sun'). The rainbow symbolizes peace, and the inscription reminds viewers that only the queen's wisdom can ensure peace and prosperity. Elizabeth was in her late sixties when this portrait was made, but for iconographic purposes she is portrayed as young and beautiful, more than mortal. In this portrait, she is ageless.

22 The Coronation Portrait 1600 This is a copy of the portrait made to commemorate Elizabeth's accession in It is a stunning and beautiful image. Elizabeth is lavishly dressed and holds the traditional orb and scepter. Her hair is loose, as befits her unmarried state, and its color is particularly striking against the white of her skin. And, once again, Elizabeth's much-admired hands are prominently displayed as they rest upon the symbols of her authority.


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