Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tate Britain

If you see a man in his 'powers' (that's what our x country team called the ridiculously short shorts they wore) running up and down the halls of the Tate Britain, don't panic. It's only an exhibit sponsored by Martin Creed.

While at the Tate Britain, you may see a painting of The Virgin Queen by Nocholas Hilliard. You might notice that the painting is a symbolic representation of the queen. The jewel above her head is a phoenix, a symbol of her virginity. There are no thorns on the stem of roses in her hand. This alludes to the Virgin Mary, again a symbol of Elizabeth's virginity. The showdowless portrait, with ostentatious clothing and fancy decorum, is a symbolic representation of the monarch. Why shadowless? Perhaps Elizabeth wants to present the image that all light emanates from her. Perhaps she is trying to keep the focus on her, with eyes not wandering to shadows. Or, perhaps, she told Hilliard that she wanted the picture to be "showerless" (meaning no rainclouds) and he misunderstood. Only Hilliard and Elizabeth really know the answer to this conundrum.

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