Paul Delaroche: The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England

The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England: Paul Delaroche

The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England is an 1828 oil on canvas historical painting by French Realist artist Paul Delaroche.

Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) was an Academic French painter who sought to paint his subjects with a high degree of realism regardless of the historical significance of his characters.

He was a pupil of the famous Napoleonic era painter Antoine-Jean Gros and taught such artists as Thomas Couture, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean-François Millet. Delaroche’s subjects are mainly drawn from biblical or French and English historical sources.

This 1828 painting The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England is ample evidence of Delaroche’s Realism and his refusal of the urge to idealize, specifically in the figure of Elizabeth herself. The ancient queen is adorned in pearls and a highly detailed and sumptuous costume as fitting her royal status.

However, all this finery is offset and contrasted with the sallow and sickly complexion of Elizabeth, her sunken face, and her helpless and awkward bodily position. There seem only to be a couple of genuine mourners: the lady-in-waiting on the left with her hands covering her face primarily. With the throne in the background now vacant, the political men in the right background darkness commence their game of succession.

Paul Delaroche’s The Death of Elizabeth I, Queen of England is in the Louvre in Paris, France.

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