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Holbein – The Ambassadors

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Hans Holbein: The Ambassadors: 1533

This is a picture full of meanings – some obvious, some hidden. We can see two gentlemen; on the left is Jean de Dintville, whom the French King had sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of Henry VIII. It was de Dintville who commissioned this painting to mark the visit to London of his friend Georges de Selves – the man on the right – in 1533.

Between them are a couple of shelves with all manner of objects on them – globes, musical and scientific instruments, books. And on the floor is a curious black and white “smudge”, that doesn’t seem to belong to the painting at all. Continue reading