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Why is it hard to tell what queen elizabeth I really looked like?


Question asked by: knowitall

Interesting question.

The reason is that most portrait painters wanted to flatter the subject, and particularly the queen of a country like England who was all powerful over her domain.

Therefore they would deliberately paint her how she would be wanted to be seen, rather than perhaps how she was.

Therefore things like youthfulness persists into portraits when she was actually much older.

In those days portraits were rare and the photographs of today and you wanted to convey a good image through your portraits, therefore we can never be sure how close the portraits were to the actual queen.

On a practical level of course they also caked their faces in flour based make-up in those days to make themselves paler - the sign of the nobility who did not have to labour in the fields and therefore being pale was a good thing.

So we can't be too sure in summary for these reasons quite what Queen Elizabeth I looked like.

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elizabeth  looked  queen  hard  

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