Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
by Andy Warhol
silkscreen print, 1985
39 3/8 in. x 31 1/2 in. (1000 mm x 800 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
This portraitback to top
The American artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol once said 'I want to be as famous as the Queen of England'. An initiator and exponent of Pop Art in the 1950s and 60s, he used photography, often not his own, to create secondary images which had an innovatory and rejuvenating impact on the nature of portraiture. This iconic set of portraits is part of a series entitled Reigning Queens, which included Queen Margarethe of Denmark, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Queen Ntombi of Swaziland, and is derived from an official 1977 Jubilee photograph by Peter Grugeon. The repetition of the four prints is reminiscent of postage stamps, reflecting the sheer quantity of images that exist of the Queen, but each print has a separate identity. Warhol has treated the Queen not as a monarch, but as one of the many celebrities he depicted, and he once said 'I want to be as famous as the Queen of England'. His approach reinvigorated the traditional presentation of royalty.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Gittings, Clare, Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I: An Educational Resource Pack, 2003
- Moorhouse, Paul and Cannadine, David (appreciation), The Queen: Art and Image, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 17 May to 21 October 2012), p. 122
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 217
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 217
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Portrait setback to top
Events of 1985back to top
Current affairs55 people die in the Manchester air disaster when a British Airtours Boeing 737 bursts into flames after an aborted takeoff at Manchester International Airport.
Art and scienceBob Geldof and Midge Ure organise Live Aid, a rock concert in London and Philadelphia, to raise funds for famine relief. The biggest names in popular music, including Paul McCartney, Queen, Status Quo, The Police, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, U2, The Who, and Led Zeppelin, performed to a TV audience of 1.5 billion.The British Antarctic Survey discovers a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.
InternationalReformer Mikhail Gorbachev comes to power as first secretary of the Soviet Communist party. He calls for 'glasnost' (openness) in Soviet life, and pursues a policy of 'perestroika' (reconstruction).French intelligence operatives sabotage Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace vessel. The ship was leading a protest against French nuclear testing in New Zealand when it was bombed and sunk, killing one of the twelve on board.
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