Monday, 22 June 2015

MiniHistoryBlogs: The Royal Body

Have you ever looked at the portraits of our English monarchs and thought

Is that what they really looked like?



I know I do when I look at paintings such as Holbein's famous work on Henry VIII or Elizabeth I in the Armada portrait. In an article 'Elizabeth I’s Challenge to the Masculinity of the Royal Body' there is a quote
“Tudor portraits bear about as much resemblance to their subjects as elephants to prunes.”
The answer to the question then, is no.
The author of the article explains "Hans Holbein’s has the king posed to emphasize his power, authority, and resoluteness: legs spread and firmly planted, broad shoulders, one hand on his dagger, and a very visible codpiece larger, art historians have noted, than portraits of other men at the time. When the monarch is female, however, the situation is very different. The female body, being famously associated with inferior intelligence, emotional instability." the author goes on to say
"It’s no wonder then that Elizabeth I, felt the need to dissociate herself from that female body, as in her famous speech at Tilbury, to the troops about to fight the Spanish Armada"



For the rest of this interesting article click on the link.


1 comment:

  1. It's frightening that the portrait of Henry flatters him! I remember from school that Henry was deeply disturbed by Anne of Cleeves after agreeing to marry her on the strength of her portrait.

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