Faust, Kimberly M.
M.A. Thesis, University of Cincinnati, May 6 (2005)
Like many female, Netherlandish artists of the Renaissance, Levinia Teerlinc (1520-1576) learned painting through an apprenticeship with her father, Simon Beninc (1483-1561), a leading Flemish book illuminator. Teerlinc’s career began with an invitation to serve as official court painter in the last decade of Henry VIII (1491- 1547) of England’s reign, following the deaths of her cousins Lucas (1490-1544) and Susanna Horenbout (1520-1550). About ten years later Elizabeth I became the new Queen of England. She understood the power accompanying the regal portrait from her father’s reign and commissioned numerous portraits of her own image. During Elizabeth’s sovereignty, Teerlinc was the only working female artist in England, allowing her artistic influence to flourish. She introduced the portrait miniature to Queen Elizabeth I, and consequently enjoyed the patronage of this powerful female monarch. History brought these two women together – both of whom had a keen understanding of the role that representation through regal identity could play. This thesis will emphasize feminist, socio-political, and historical analyses to explore Teerlinc’s portrait miniatures and manuscript illuminations of the Queen and the image of the monarch these paintings convey. I will also compare Teerlinc’s images with the self-fashioned, private poetry and public speeches of Elizabeth I. An exploration of the dichotomy between the private and public realms assists in the construction of a unified regal identity for the Queen that was unique in history and serves to place Teerlinc among other portrait painters working in England during the Renaissance period.