To examine the portraits of Elizabeth I is, as Roy Strong shows, to witness the creation of the legend of the Virgin Queen, of Gloriana and her burgeoning empire. The history of the portraiture is that of the deliberate manufacture of an image powerful enough to hold together a people divided by not only a rigid social hierarchy but also religious belief. When Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 her subjects had a vivid memory of defeat in war and of religious turmoil - the bloody reign of her half-sister Mary had only just ended. The policy of restoring the stability of the kingdom necessarily involved the image of the Queen: over the years she was to be transmuted from an elegant aristocratic lady into a cosmic vision depicted standing on her realm of England or, even more boldly, clasping the whole world in her hand. In view of the uncertainty over the succession her mortality had to be denied: she was therefore presented, in a political act of rejuvenation, as a young woman, even when in her sixties. The successful proliferation of the image may be measured by the love and devotion inspired by a monarch who in the later years of her reign has been described as 'aged, toothless, bald and irascible'. For two decades, from 1580 to 1600, that propaganda machine worked triumphantly, and it was only in the very last years that it began to fail.
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“A work of immense beauty and precision in which the text completely lives up to the many and admirable reproductions… a real triumph of scholarship.” -- Punch
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Descrizione libro Random House UK, 2003. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P11071260944X