Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses

Isaac Oliver
1556 – 1617

Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses

4 5/8 x 6 1/4 inches, 11.5 x 15.7 cm

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Provenance

  • with The Weiss Gallery 2012;
  • National Portait Gallery, London, 2012.

A very rare and highly important miniature by Isaac Oliver (1556 - 1617) of Elizabeth I and the three goddesses Juno, Minerva and Venus, has been saved for the nation and purchased by the National Portrait Gallery with the support of Mark Weiss himself. In this exquisite gem, Oliver has re-interpreted an earlier composition by Joris Hoefnagel which is at Hampton Court. Whereas in the Hampton Court picture Juno (goddess of matrimony) beckoned Elizabeth on, reflecting the expectation that she would still marry, in Oliver's miniature, significantly the goddess raises a restraining hand towards Venus, perhaps acknowledging the fact that Elizabeth had now proclaimed herself wedded to her country and was no longer a potential bride. A date may tentatively be suggested on the basis of the gown Elizabeth wears, to circa 1588.

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