armada portrait

The Armada Portrait, one of the most famous and recognized depictions of Elizabeth I, was painted in celebration of the defeat of the Spanish Armada sent by Phillip II of Spain, which threatened to depose her and exact their vengeance for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, who they saw as the true Catholic Queen of England. There is a good deal of symbolism in this portrait. One of the less obvious ones is Elizabeth’s hand resting on the globe in her lap. As unassuming as this gesture is, it is referring to her ability to conquer any force on Earth that crosses her path. This portrait is also an example of the outrageous depiction of the Queen, a persona that she donned in order to make herself into a divine figure and garner for herself more respect. In fact, she had most early portraits of her disposed of during her reign.