For the second year in a row, I bemoan my poor judgment in passing up a magnificent Halloween piece featuring Elizabeth. I was walking through Target, admiring the Halloween decorations, when I came upon a picture frame that altered the image shown when one looked at it in different positions. The subject in question was billed only as “a lady”, but I recognized the image immediately as The Sieve Portrait of Elizabeth by Quentin Metsys the Younger. “Oh, how nice!” I thought, and picked up the frame.
The image switched to that of a gorgon.
Yes, a gorgon. Terrifying female creatures of Greek legend with steely auras of beauty coupled with a deathly stare and a head full of snakes. Men who looked upon these monsters turned to stone. The irony was not lost on me. Indeed, the coupling of a gorgon with Elizabeth was so amusing that I had to wonder if the person who created it did not know about Elizabeth’s back-story, or indeed, the symbolism within The Sieve Portrait. In the portrait, Elizabeth is depicted as the Vestal Virgin Tuccia – a very feminine and classical pose (as a side story, Tuccia proved her chastity by carrying water all the way from the Tiber River to the Temple of Vesta without spilling one iota of water, quite the feat). She looks steadily at the observer. It was a perfect coupling. Yet, I did not buy it, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I’ve only ever met one other person who is aware of the piece, and he was a professor who had a penchant for the weird and ironic. Yet he did not buy it, either, and he cannot remember the name of the piece.
So my question to you is this: do you know where I might be able to find this piece that I fancy? Because there is a spot on the wall in my office that just begs to be occupied.
10/08/11 UPDATE: Holly Davis, a follower on The Creation of Anne Boleyn page, has helped me to locate this piece! You can view the full product information here: http://www.grandinroad.com/x/374007?SourceCode=ZZ50886&cm_mmc=Comparison+Shopping-_-Shopzilla-_-NA-_-NA&mr%3AreferralID=c587d875-f214-11e0-9aae-001b2166c62d