Elizabethan Art

By Michael L. Adkins

Queen Elizabeth I Portraits

There are very few portraits left of Elizabeth as a princess.  There are, however, several portraits left of her as a queen.  Some early portraits of her may have been lost over the years, but there were, supposedly, very few early portraits of her ever produced at all.  Simply, there was not a great demand for her portrait before she became queen.  Once she became queen, demand for her portrait flourished exponentially.  Her portrait would go on to be displayed in many of England's great houses of nobility.  It was displayed as a symbol of loyalty to Elizabeth (Thomas, par. 1).

Many of the portraits of the Queen Elizabeth I are instantly and easily recognizable.  This is due to the fact that most of these portraits were painted with her wearing a crown.  This showed her as being the queen.  Not all of the portraits of Elizabeth were large.  In fact, several of the portraits were quite small (par. 2).

The way Queen Elizabeth I was painted changed over the course of her reign. In the early years of her reign, she was painted very simply, with little symbolism, or even Majesty, to convey that she was the monarch. In some later paintings, she looks like any other wealthy Elizabethan woman (par. 3).


Late Elizabethan Art

A great deal of Late Elizabethan Art included miniatures.  The miniatures painted by artists in England from 1570-1610 were of excellent quality.  The level of craftsmanship in the miniatures was excellent.  The art of the miniatures of this era was lovely.  Isaac Oliver, Samuel Cooper, and a Devonian Hilliard are among the most prominent of artists who did miniatures in late 16th century and early 17th century England.  The miniatures received popular acclaim in England but did not receive as much acclaim in other parts of the world (Baker 44).

The other art of the period included oil paintings.  The oil paintings were not produced by the common people.  These paintings were reserved more for the affluent and aristocracy of England.  The oil paintings of 1570-1610 in England were assembled with much care (44).


Works Cited

Baker, C.H. Collins. “Late Elizabethan Art.”  The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs (1926). The Burlington Magazine Publications, 22 Mar. 2007 <http://www.jstor.org>.

Thomas, Heather. "Portraits of Elizabeth I." The Life and Times of Queen Elizabeth I. 21 Apr. 2007 <http://www.elizabethi.org/us/portraits>.