From the Copper Age into the twentieth century, rulers believed that pomp was essential to power. I have sometimes wondered if this was really true, and part of me is attracted to plain men like John Calvin or Mao who wielded great power in boring clothes. But anyway people believed it to be true, so a great deal of the most spectacular art across that whole era was made to emphasize the special status of kings and nobles. The resulting heritage is wondrous.
"Armada portraits" or this "Sea Dog Table" of around 1575, decorated with sea monsters.
big image here.