Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait

Illustration

Mark Cartwright
by Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
published on 28 May 2020

A c. 1601 CE portrait of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1588-1603 CE). The 'Rainbow Portrait', so-called because the queen grasps a rainbow - a traditional symbol of peace - in her right hand, has been attributed to various artists: Isaac Oliver, Taddo Zuccari, or Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

The queen's dress is embroidered with wildflowers and studded with pearls, a symbol of the Virgin Mary. The inner orange lining of her cloak has many embroidered eyes and ears which remind that the queen is always alert to the best interests of her people. Elizabeth's left arm caries a snake, a traditional symbol of wisdom, and it holds a heart-shaped ruby pendant in its mouth. The inscription above the rainbow in the queen's hand reads Non sine sole iris or 'No rainbow without the sun'. By association, then, the queen's wise rule is as important as the sun to the prosperity of her kingdom.

Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, England.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Younger, I. O. o. G. t. (2020, May 28). Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12314/elizabeth-i-rainbow-portrait/

Chicago Style

Younger, Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts the. "Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 28, 2020. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12314/elizabeth-i-rainbow-portrait/.

MLA Style

Younger, Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts the. "Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 28 May 2020. Web. 25 Jan 2022.

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