Friday, April 2, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The reign of Queen Elizabeth I was an extremely productive one.
Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen, was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. When she took the throne in 1558, England was weak, divided, and broke. It was far outside the mainstream of European power and cultural development. Elizabeth was directly responsible for putting England on the road to becoming a true world power and restoring the country's lost sense of national pride. She was truly a monarch of the people and was well loved by her people.
Elizabeth was glorified by artists, and she used her portraitists as a form of propaganda to present her best self-image to her adoring public. Elizabeth was perhaps the first monarch to understand the importance of public relations, and she carefully prepared her image to best show herself in her position of power: as an icon of beauty, strength, and goodness.
To present this image, in which realism played no part, symbols, and emblems were used – stolen from biblical, classical, and mythological sources. The “Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I” in particular, painted by George Gower in 1590, uses symbols, notably pearls and a globe.
With the help of fine clothes, jewels, and cosmetics, the vain queen maintained a glamorous image despite her advancing age. Pearls, said to be Queen Elizabeth's favorite jewel, were also a symbol of virginity and are used here to show her purity. Her jewelry collection was vast and portraits often depict her covered in chains, pendants, pearls, rings, brooches, and bracelets. She is often seen wearing enormous rubies and the famous black pearls that had belonged to her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, the color of which was described like that of “Muscat grapes.” Perhaps Elizabeth hoped to deter notice of her advancing age with the glitter of her jewels.
Another important symbol is the globe, upon which the queen’s hand rests. In particular, her fingers rest upon the Americas. Just before this portrait was created, the first English child was born at the English settlement in Virginia. The globe tells us that Elizabeth’s power extends far beyond the boundaries of her small island kingdom.
Defeat of the Spanish Armada
Through the two windows can be seen two views that did not take place at the same time. The window on the left shows the arrival of the Spanish Armada. In 1588 Spain's King Philip II assembled a fleet of 132 ships, the Armada, and tried to invade England. A battle lasting nine days broke out between the Spanish Armada and the English fleet of 34 ships and 163 armed merchant vessels.
Certainly a lot was at stake. If the Spanish won, England ran the risk of becoming a Catholic province of Spain. At last the English tricked their enemy by setting fire to several of their own ships and leaving them to drift near the Spanish ships. The Spaniards broke formation and fled. The fleeing ships were ultimately destroyed by a storm. In Gower’s painting, the window to the right of the Queen depicts the defeat of the Spanish Armada. With this defeat, England's long period of sea dominance across the world began; it may be Elizabeth’s greatest success.
The two window views, though implausibly set in two different timeframes, deftly pay tribute to the Queen’s success.
Elizabeth's reign – lasting over forty years – was mostly peaceful and prosperous at home. She encouraged not only local industries but also the arts, for example acting as patron to a young playwright named William Shakespeare. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, England's literacy rate had grown 30 percent. She genuinely loved her subjects. She is regarded by many as the greatest monarch in English history.
The Armada portrait today hangs in the impressive art gallery at tourist attraction / theme park Woburn Abbey near London, England.
Hagen, Rose-Marie & Rainer. What Great Paintings Say: Old Masters in Detail. Cologne: Benedikt Tasche, 2000.
Grove Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Article taken from http://renaissance-art.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_armada_portrait_of_elizabeth_i
Just to let you know that I am going away for the night, so i will not be able to update the poll once it ends imediately. Hopefully i can update it tomorrow when I am back. Is there anyparticular poll you are interested in seeing?
Remember! Only 4 hours left to vote!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I am wondering if anyone has any quetions they would like for the poll, or tudor king or queen that they would like to see for ruler of the week?
I have a couple down that I love, but would really love to hear what everyone thinks.
Place your suggestion in a comment below. Will be appreciated!
Have a great day.