1583 "Sieve" portrait by Quentin Metsys the Younger (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena Italy)

This, what may be the most well-known "Sieve" portrait, is another allegorical propaganda portrait of Queen Elizabeth of England. By Ketel, according to Norris. Norris calls it the "Siena portrait." Marileecody identifies the artist as Quentin Metsys the Younger.

The Wikipedia article for Quentin Metsys the Younger is here.

This shows how the veil or outer ruff was attached to the rest of a gown.

Marileecody (http://www.marileecody.com/eliz1-images .html) has this description: "Elizabeth is portrayed with a sieve in a number of portraits. This one is referred to as either the 'Sieve Portrait' or 'The Siena Portrait', to distinguish it from the others. It is one of the few surviving works of Quentin Metsys the Younger and was discovered in 1895, rolled up in the attic of the Palazza Reale in Siena, hence the alternate name. Elizabeth obviously admired this artist's work. In 1577, she unsuccessfully attempted to purchase his 'Burial of Christ' triptych from the Carpenters' Guild in Antwerp.

The sieve is a symbol of chastity and purity, originally taken from Petrarch's Triumph of Chastity. In the story, a Roman Vestal Virgin proves her purity by carrying water in a sieve and not spilling one drop. The sieve thus reinforces Elizabeth's image as 'the virgin queen'. The rim of the sieve is inscribed: A TERRA ILBEN / AL DIMORA IN SELLA' (The good falls to the ground while the bad remains in the saddle).

The figure to the right of Elizabeth is possibly her courtier Sir Christopher Hatton. His white hind badge is just barely visible on the figure's cloak. If so, then it is possible that Hatton commissioned this portrait; he may have met Metsys during a trip to Antwerp in 1573.

The roundels behind the queen depict the story of Aeneas and Dido, with the queen compared to Aeneas. Like the classical hero, she has faced temptation (marriage) and now leads a powerful nation. The globe behind the queen continues this theme. Ships are crossing west on the globe, possibly an allusion to England's conquest of the New World. TVTTO VEDO ET MOLTO MANCHA ('I see all and much is lacking') is inscribed on the globe. The portrait itself is inscribed: STANCHO RIPOSO & RIPO SATO AFFA NNO ('Weary I am and, having rested, still am weary.')"

Keywords:  1583, Metsys the Younger, frizzy coiffure, high enclosing neckline, jeweled headdress, draped necklace, brooch, girdle, farthingale, vee waistline, rolled sleeves, cuffs, neck ruff, outer ruff, veil


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