Skip to comments.Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I reveals secret snake
Posted on 03/06/2010 6:39:04 AM PST by JoeProBono
A mysterious image of a coiled snake has appeared in a 16th century painting of Queen Elizabeth I, the National Portrait Gallery has said. The Tudor queen was depicted with the snake clasped in her fingers in an original version of the work, but it was replaced with a bunch of roses.
The paint has deteriorated over the years to reveal the serpent's outline. The painting will go on display at the London gallery on 13 March for the first time since 1921. It will form part of the Concealed and Revealed: The Changing Faces of Elizabeth I exhibition, which runs until 26 September.
The portrait was created by an unknown artist in the 1580s or early 1590s. The gallery suggested the snake's removal may have been due to the ambiguity of the emblem. It may have represented wisdom, but snakes are also linked to notions of Satan and original sin.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
The painting today (left) and an artist's impression of how the snake may have originally looked
David Icke is smiling today.
Kings were often pictured with a sword or dagger which symbolized their power over life and death. It appears that the snake in the hands of a Queen conveys the same power.
British author exposes the reptilian bloodline that rules the world.
I’m thinking the snake might have respresented Spain, Englands most powerful enemy before the smashing of the planned invasion.
Hmmm...a woman in control of a snake. It doesn’t take Freud to understand what that means!
Doesn’t look like a very good rendition of a snake. It looks more like a infant wyrm...ya know, a DRAGON.
...or even an infant Lock Ness Monster. Snake? I doubt it.
Yup, I think the case is cracked.
I wonder if this could have been a veiled contemporary reference by the painter to the doubt and confusion about Queen Elizabeth’s sexuality.
Just look up "cobra" on google images, and you will see.
“She’s a man, baby!”
Thanks for the interesting post. Many possibilities to ponder.
Notice the lack of scales. Note the rubbery looking skin. Then take a good look at the attention to detail in the rest of the painting. Snake?
Actually, she does look rather mannish in this portrait.
In fact, the features resemble one of the paintings of William Shakespeare.
Another Shakespeare mystery????
The serpentine nature of the usurper Elizabeth is well known, especially to Catholics.
Cate Blanchett she wasn’t.
The possibility exists, and cannot be casually discharged, that the whole painting was re-purposed and the subject herself is also part of the revision. Artistic conventions of this period tended to be rather formulaic.
My supposition from studying the history of this period is that something was physically abnormal about Queen Elizabeth. Modern speculation is that she had androgen insensitivity syndrome. Whatever the cause, I think she must have known she could not bear children. She played the game well, keeping a number of suitors dangling and always holding out the possibility to foreign governments that an alliance through marriage was possible. This worked until she was in her early forties and then the possibility was not feasible anymore.
If she was merely fearful of marriage or wanted to use her marriageability to its fullest in negotiations I can see the prudence of waiting until mid thirties to marry. But at some point it is more worth it to produce an heir, even if it’s just with some flunky courtier like Mary Queen of Scots picked, than to age past the possibility of having a child. The 1580s and 1590s were a remarkably volatile time because it was obvious she would not produce an heir. She lost power little by little—power that she could have sustained by producing an heir.
So I think she knew she couldn’t have a child (most probably because she didn’t menstruate) and she made the best of a bad situation.