Event Title

Venus of Egypt: Symbolic Imagery of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare’s Cleopatra

Faculty Advisor

Joanne Diaz

Graduation Year

2021

Location

Room E102, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

4-4-2020 10:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2020 10:15 AM

Description

Iconography in the Renaissance was an influential tool for individuals to portray and retain power. Queen Elizabeth I used this tool frequently during her time as ruler of England. In their journals, Fischlin and King analyze symbols in paintings of Queen Elizabeth I that center around her religious and political power, her wealth and her impenetrability. She used this type of iconography to maintain power as a female ruler under constant threat. Soon after the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Shakespeare wrote his play Antony and Cleopatra. This work also displays an iconographic image of the female ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra. However, Shakespeare does not paint her as the powerful queen that Elizabeth was. Rather than simply analyze Shakespeare’s treatment of Cleopatra, I use the iconography in portraits of the Queen of England and apply it to the Queen of Egypt and create an iconographic portrait of Cleopatra that emphasizes her power, wealth, and sexuality. I focus on exemplifying how both of these royal women used the imagery of their bodies to convey a message about who they are.

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Apr 4th, 10:00 AM Apr 4th, 10:15 AM

Venus of Egypt: Symbolic Imagery of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare’s Cleopatra

Room E102, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Iconography in the Renaissance was an influential tool for individuals to portray and retain power. Queen Elizabeth I used this tool frequently during her time as ruler of England. In their journals, Fischlin and King analyze symbols in paintings of Queen Elizabeth I that center around her religious and political power, her wealth and her impenetrability. She used this type of iconography to maintain power as a female ruler under constant threat. Soon after the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Shakespeare wrote his play Antony and Cleopatra. This work also displays an iconographic image of the female ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra. However, Shakespeare does not paint her as the powerful queen that Elizabeth was. Rather than simply analyze Shakespeare’s treatment of Cleopatra, I use the iconography in portraits of the Queen of England and apply it to the Queen of Egypt and create an iconographic portrait of Cleopatra that emphasizes her power, wealth, and sexuality. I focus on exemplifying how both of these royal women used the imagery of their bodies to convey a message about who they are.