Milkmaids and Kings: Elizabeth's Gender and The Judgment of Paris

Milkmaids and Kings: Elizabeth's Gender and The Judgment of Paris This essay interprets the 1569 painting attributed to the monogrammist H.E. 1 (fig. 1) and known variously as The Judgment of Paris, Qy,een Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses, or The Confounding of the Three Goddessel- in the context of patriarchal anxiety about a female monarch. Roy Strong calls the painting "a revised version of the Judgment of the Paris" (Portraits 79). Building on the work of Strong and others, the argument of this essay has two principal points: first, that unflattering dimensions of the Judgment of Paris myth revised in the painting destabilize its status as a gesture of praise; second, that the painting may be read as an attempt by Elizabethan culture to understand the synthesis of the male body of kingship and what Elizabeth herself called the body of "a weak and feeble woman" (qtd. in Sommerset 464). In this painting, Elizabeth is presented as Queen, with a crown on her head and the orb and scepter of state in her hands. The orb's reddish color combined with the assemblage of Juno, Minerva, and Venus is a complicated reworking of the Judgment of Paris myth. In the painting of Elizabeth in her coronation robes, the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Explorations in Renaissance Culture Brill

Milkmaids and Kings: Elizabeth's Gender and The Judgment of Paris

Explorations in Renaissance Culture, Volume 20 (1): 143 – Dec 2, 1994

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 1994 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0098-2474
eISSN
2352-6963
D.O.I.
10.1163/23526963-90000162
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay interprets the 1569 painting attributed to the monogrammist H.E. 1 (fig. 1) and known variously as The Judgment of Paris, Qy,een Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses, or The Confounding of the Three Goddessel- in the context of patriarchal anxiety about a female monarch. Roy Strong calls the painting "a revised version of the Judgment of the Paris" (Portraits 79). Building on the work of Strong and others, the argument of this essay has two principal points: first, that unflattering dimensions of the Judgment of Paris myth revised in the painting destabilize its status as a gesture of praise; second, that the painting may be read as an attempt by Elizabethan culture to understand the synthesis of the male body of kingship and what Elizabeth herself called the body of "a weak and feeble woman" (qtd. in Sommerset 464). In this painting, Elizabeth is presented as Queen, with a crown on her head and the orb and scepter of state in her hands. The orb's reddish color combined with the assemblage of Juno, Minerva, and Venus is a complicated reworking of the Judgment of Paris myth. In the painting of Elizabeth in her coronation robes, the

Journal

Explorations in Renaissance CultureBrill

Published: Dec 2, 1994

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