Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Question from Tudorrose - Whiteness of hands and faces

Hands whiter than the face!?
Have you noticed in some of the portraits that the hands tend to be whiter than their faces or their body tends to be whiter.
A portrait of Elizabeth clarifies this.
I know it was fashionable and consindered to be beauty the whiter the skin.

2 comments:

Bladerunner said...

Gloves, were very popular, and a symbol of wealth and refinement. They would protect the wearer from the sun, and any wear. But remember the painter was not painting a portrait as we may think of it, but also a symbol of rank and wealth. Long pale finger, were all the rage. Portraits were "air brushed" then as now.

PhD Historian said...

Bladerunner is exactly correct. Portraits painted in the sixteenth century were not photographs, and were not meant to be perfectly precise representations of the individual down to the last detail. There was considerable artistic license taken and alterations made to produce an idealized figure rather than a strictly accurate one. This became even more common in the late Elizabethan period when the queen herself insisted on being painted as a "type" rather than as she actually appeared. As the Queen went, so went the country......