The Portrayal of a King

During the 1500–1600's when a portrait of a king was commissioned there were certain aspects that were observed and enhanced by the artist. Many of these enhanced or added aspects generally have to do with the image of the king to his subjects, especially the nobility.

These characteristics included objects such as the Kings rod and orb that represent authority and justice. These two objects appeared in many portraits of kings, the rod appears in the portrait of Henry VIII above. Another object included in portraits, such as King William I, is the sword. The sword traditionally represents a king that has secured his right to rule by force or conquering his kingdom.

These aspects of portraits have differing effects of the kings portrayal of power and authority on the population. For instance the portrait of King William I (above) portrays his power in a authoritarian way through the placement of the sword in his portrait. In contrast the portrait of Elizabeth I portrays an elegant Queen whom shows her authority through the use of the crown, rod, and the orb and uses this to transform herself from an individual into a symbol.

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