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Monday, 18 April 2011

Tudor Art- Royal Portraits- Part 4

It is interesting that although Henry VIII had tried so much to have a son and heir, it was a daughter that was meant to continue his dynasty and become even more famous that her father. Elizabeth, the second daughter of the king, was greeted with disappointment when she was born because everyone hoped for a healthy boy. The girl lost her mother Anne Boleyn at the age of 3 and until she eventually succeeded to the throne of England her life was often troubled.
She became queen in 1558 and reigned for 45 years; more than any other Tudor monarch. She famously never married and managed to run her kingdom and win every enemy till the end of her life. An intelligent and potent ruler, Elizabeth realized, like her father had done almost 30 years before her, that her image was an important tool in her reign. 
The Darnley Portrait, 1575, oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, London
Especially, in the portraits of the second half of her reign, the queen was presented glorious, majestic in rich clothes, always looking out of the boundaries of the painting. In the Darnley and Ditchley Portraits from 1575 and 1592 respectively, nobody could mistake the status of the sitter or question her absolute power. The portraits are stylized and although the queen aged she is always represented youthful, in the prime of her power.
The Ditchley Portrait, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, 1592, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London    

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