Category Archives: The Portrait

Elizabeth I portrait

For the exercise on Portraits I chose to Annotate a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I that is in the Walker Art Gallery collection so I was interested to watch a programme on TV last night about a recently discovered portrait of her in later life.  The idea behind the American programme called ‘Treasure Detectives’ is to find out if an art work is real or fake.  There had been some coverage in UK newspapers earlier this year Telegraph, Telegraph, Guardian and the Daily Mail.

The painting is owned by the Elizabethan Gardens in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.  During my research on Queen Elizabeth I I discovered that  ‘As she grew older her image was tightly controlled and in 1596 an official proclamation ordered that any ‘unseemly’ portraits were to be destroyed’ so I was sure that this painting was going to be a fake but it appears that it is real, produced by the studio of Gheeraerts in the early-mid 1590s


The Portrait

I decided to do some research in to portraiture before I started the exercises in this part of the module.

A portrait is a painting, drawing, sculpture or a photograph which shows the likeness, personality and sometimes the mood of the subject.

I think I know what the difference is between a Formal or Informal portrait but looked on the internet to see if I could find a definitive answer.  A sign of the times but the nearest I could find was for photography but would apply to painting just as well.

Formal = Posed, set up, normally in a studio.
Informal = not specifically set up or set up so the subject just carries on with what they were doing rather than specifically posing for the shot.

Until the middle of the 14th century portraits were painted in profile but now the subject usually looks directly at the artist or is turned slightly to the side.

I couldn’t find any evidence of portraiture in prehistory but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any it could just mean none survives or has never been found.  The earliest we know about are in Ancient Egypt although these were stylized and in profile.