According to Roy Strong in Gloriana (1987), “the deliberate development of state festivals in glorification of rulers, the evolution of the palace as an architectural complex and the patronage of humanist poets and historiographers” were all ways in which rulers in early modern Europe consolidated their power and expanded the “Idea of Monarchy

Tudor Iconography
- helped legitimatize dynasty and counteract criticism of break with Rome
 Henry VIII commissioned Hans Holbein to paint royal portraits; had round table at Winchester painted with Tudor rose and colors
 Edward VI and Mary both had court painters (William Scrots and Hans Eworth, respectively)
 Elizabeth I attempted to control production and distribution of royal portraits
- invoked not individual likeness but “abstract principles of rule” (in neo-Platonist terms, “idea” or “form” of kingship)
- served moral function: portrayal of good ruler would encourage subjects to act virtuously 
- took place of religious icons
 worship of Virgin Mary worship of Virgin Queen
 lockets of Elizabeth worn like religious medals
 symbols of sacred nature of royal person
 1570s wearing of limnings of queen within jeweled lockets became fashionable
- played part in international politics
 portraits of Elizabeth on continent often connected with marriage negotiations

1579 was turning point in Elizabethan portraiture
- year of first allegorical portrait of queen
- connected with development of cult of Virgin Queen and myth of Golden Age
- related to knowledge queen would not marry, expectation of war with Catholic Spain, and growth of English maritime imperialism
 John Dee: Elizabeth should reassert dominion of world based on imperial descent of Tudors from Brutus and on conquests of Arthur; i.e. England's greatness would come not from marriage alliances but through imperial conquests

- 1579 “Sieve” portrait by George Gower combined imperial motifs with Petrarchan symbols of virginity (story of Vestal Virgin Tuccia retold in Petrarch’s Triumph of Chastity). Sieve symbolized wisdom (Words on rim “A terra il ben mal dimora insella”); painted at time of marriage negotiations with Alençon.
Terrestial globe associated with imperial conquests (Duality of concept of “body politic”: body of monarch represented realm; thus both globe and Elizabeth represented England). “Sieve” portrait by Cornelius Ketel adds pillar (jasper column used by Petrarch to symbolize Laura’s chastity; Romans used columns to celebrate imperial victories) and crown (of HRE)

- “Ermine” portrait of 1585 attributed to William Segar also includes imperial and virginal themes. Sword of justice and olive branch personify Elizabeth as “Peace”; ermine used by Petrarch to represent Laura’s purity; topazes on collar symbolize resistance to lasciviousness

- “Ditchley” portrait, painted by Marchus Gheeraerts the Younger c. 1592, among the first to employ chiaroscuro (use of light and shade).  Commissioned by Sir Henry Lee to hang in his home in Ditchley, the painting portrays Elizabeth as England (in her hair is armillary jewel)
Elizabeth’s cosmic powers were made her able to control the weather (this was also shown by using the moon or by representing Elizabeth as Diana/Cynthia, the Moon Goddess)

Elizabeth did not like paintings which showed her age or physical decay.  Her limner, Nicholas Hilliard, was asked to create a formalized image of the queen known as the “mask of youth

- “Rainbow” portrait painted for Robert Cecil by Gheeraerts  c. 1600, employs “mask of youth”; dominant image is rainbow (symbol of peace); cloak has “eyes and ears” to represent loyal ministers; sleeve has serpent with heart pendant in mouth (showed wisdom to do right thing)

Elizabeth’s motto Semper Eadem accorded well with the visual representation of stability and permanence symbolized by her portraits