Elizabeth I Armada Portrait

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Mark Cartwright
by George Gower
published on 22 May 2020
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The c. 1588 CE 'Armada Portrait' attributed to George Gower of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE). The title of this painting derives from the window behind the queen which shows the defeat of the Spanish Armada in a storm in 1588 CE. There are several versions of this painting.

The black dress and cloak of the queen symbolize constancy while her many white pearls link her to the Virgin Mary. Looking youthful for her 57 years, the queen holds the handle of a fan in her left hand while her right is placed over a globe to symbolize England's imperial ambitions. Her hand is, not coincidentally, placed over North America where England's first colony was located, Virginia, named after the queen. Another symbol of empire is the imperial crown on the left. On the right, there is a golden statue of a mermaid, perhaps a ship's figurehead to continue the maritime theme of the painting.

Royal Museums Greenwich, England.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Gower, G. (2020, May 22). Elizabeth I Armada Portrait. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12284/elizabeth-i-armada-portrait/

Chicago Style

Gower, George. "Elizabeth I Armada Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 22, 2020. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12284/elizabeth-i-armada-portrait/.

MLA Style

Gower, George. "Elizabeth I Armada Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 22 May 2020. Web. 28 Nov 2021.