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Steven van der Meulen: Portrait of queen Elizabeth I of England (1563)

(Private Collection)
A painting by the Flemish artist Steven van der Meulen(active 1543 until 1568). This painting, known as 'the Hampden Portrait' is probably the earliest known full-length portrait of Elizabeth as a queen. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) was the daughter of king Henry VIII of England and his second wife Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 at the death of Queen Mary I of England. Upon her succession Elizabeth was not married and it was expected that she would marry. This portrait comes from her this time when she was forced to address the question of marriage. It is very unusual as it alludes to Elizabeth becoming a wife and mother. The painting was probably painted with suitors in mind and it is full of Tudor symbolism. In her right hand she is holding a carnation flower which was an attribute of the Blessed Virgin Mary and represents here being the Handmaid of God and the Queen of Heaven (England). The flower is also a symbol of love…

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