Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Elizabeth's Judgement

This postcard-sized miniature of Queen Elizabeth I turned up in a house clearance sale. It is attributed to Isaac Oliver and dated circa 1590 (CLICK). The National Portrait Gallery in London snapped it up for £329,000 and will show it in the autumn in its exhibition Elizabeth I & Her People (CLICK). The painting captures the grandiose ideas of the Elizabethan period. The Queen, flanked by two of her ladies-in-waiting, holds the golden apple to be awarded to the most beautiful goddess in the Greek myth The Judgement of Paris. The competitors for the prize were Hera, Athena and Aphrodite (CLICK). Either the Queen is usurping the place of Paris or she has taken the award for herself and averted the Trojan War. There might be an oblique anti-Roman dig here!


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