Art in the Elizabethan Era

Art in Elizabethan Times was just as popular as activities like dancing and going to the theatre to watch a performance - Art in the Elizabethan Era introduction. There was a wide range of different styles of art. But one of the most popular styles of art was called “miniature painting” or “limning”. The name “miniature painting” was derived from the word minimum. Mninature paintings were a very popular style of art and paintings, this style flourished from the 16th Century to the 19th. These paintings were originally painted with water colours but they were also made or colored with pastels, oils, or pencils.

Because of they’re small shape, it was popular to get a miniature painting done, and place it inside a locket. Some miniature paintings were painted on ivory instead of a canvas. Most miniature paintings included family emblems, coat of arms, or pictures re-interpreting stories or poems that had hidden meanings or messages. One of the most popular artists known for his miniature paintings was Nicholas Hilliard. Hilliard was born in 1547 in England. Nicholas Hilliard was trained and worked as a goldsmith and jeweler before becoming an artist.

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Hilliard was first introduced to miniature paintings by seeing and admiring the work of Hans Holbein, a miniature painter from Germany. Holbein’s work inspired Nicholas Hilliard to become a miniature artist himself. Nicholas Hilliard’s first known painting was done in 1560. Later on, in 1570 Hilliard became a painter for Queen Elizabeth I (The First). He designed her document seal in 1584, and later on created the “The Pelican Portrait” of Queen Elizabeth I. Nicholas Hilliard was one of the Queen’s favorite artists. Outside of painting for Queen Elizabeth I, Nicholas Hilliard had his first of seven children in 1582 with his wife, Alice.

The first born of their several children, Lawrence Hilliard began practicing miniature painting when he was 14, following in his father’s footsteps. Nicholas Hilliard was a well known and respected miniature artist. His pieces will still be appreciated well into the future. Another very popular form of art in the Elizabethan Era was decorative armour. The earliest suits of armour were made of chain mail rings. Suits were made of chain mail up until the 1300’s. The chain mail was replaced by steel, because the weaponry of the Elizabethan era was growing and getting more dangerous.

The chain mail grew very weak against the swords, daggers, and various other weapons of the Elizabethan times. The best suits of armour were made of steel from Germany or Italy. The suits were made of 10 to 11 pieces of steel, making them extremely heavy. The armour was decorated with different techniques. From Damascening – which was engraving patterns, to Burnishing, which was pressure polishing, and “gilding”, decorating the suits with gold embellishments. The suits were also detailed with certain colours like green, blue, or silver and gold.

The suits were very detailed and elaborate. The more detailed and decorative your suit was, the more money you had. Some suits of armour cost as much as a small farm. Very intricate suits of armour were strictly made for parades and ceremonies as decorations. Decorative armour was hardly ever worn into battles. Even the knight’s horses received armour for ceremonies. As I mentioned before, the Elizabethan times had a wide variety of different art. From gold plated armour to a small painting of the Queen on a locket, there was many different ways of being considered artistic.

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