Hans Holbein and the Original OKCupid Date Gone Wrong
By Connor O’Brien
Hans Holbein the Younger, a German painter born in the late fifteenth century, received much attention in England for his exquisite attention to detail, a realism characteristic of Northern Renaissance painting. Because of these technical gifts, he eventually became the court painter to Henry VIII, generating stately portraits that now constitute the popular image of the well-known king. This also roped Holbein into the complex marital politics associated with Henry VIII’s reign.
According to Grove Art, Holbein’s period of greatest activity for Henry VIII was in 1538–9, when he was sent on several journeys abroad in order to portray prospective candidates for the royal marriage. The sister of a German duke, Anne of Cleves, was suggested by Thomas Cromwell as a wife for Henry VIII to strengthen the protestant alliance. King Henry wanted to confirm that she was beautiful enough for him to marry, and he instructed Holbein not to embellish or romanticize her appearance. When the painter returned with the above portrait, the king agreed to the marriage, and the wedding treaty was signed. The new queen, after her first evening with Henry, was not quite as well-received as was the artwork. It apparently portrayed Anne in a far more idealized way than Henry perceived in person. Infamously describing the actual Anne as a “Flanders mare,” he saw in her no potential to conceive children. Holbein’s masterful ability to paint beautifully, in this instance, seemed to betray him.
Despite his disappointment, Henry VIII became close friends with the queen during their short time together, and she managed to escape execution due to her cooperation with the king in annulment proceedings. Henry granted her vast properties in exchange for this agreement, and the two remained extremely fond of each other until his death. Holbein, too, remained in the king’s favor, with the monarch blaming his advisors for the failed marriage (some of whom were not as fortunate as Anne).
The moral of the story? Always request multiple portraits, and from different angles.
Connor O’Brien is an intern for art reference at Oxford University Press.
Like those of Picabia, De Zayas’s drawings employed forms so simplified that they often verged on pure abstraction and contained witty visual puns that played on references to machines and other aspects of modern life. De Zayas’s drawings in turn probably inspired subsequent near-abstract “symbolic portraits” by members of the Stieglitz group, including Charles Demuth and Arthur Dove.
So, i have a midterm tomorrow, and one of the things i have to study are the periods of art. we were given a handout that we were to fill out using a site called grove art. we were given this handout after the first week.
since the first week i have /tried/ to do this hand out, to y'know learn things so i won’t be screwed for the midterm. the only issue is EVERYTIME I TRY TO DO IT, THE NET GOES DOWN.
even now it has gone down on my main computer JUST as i was about to go onto the site. i would try with my netbook (which i am currently on) but i don’t want to be missing the net on both computers… I will try again later when the net comes back on my main computer…
Picturing Family and Friends: In this unit we look at works of art that reveal some of the dynamics of personal relationships in Renaissance Italy. The first section of the essay explores husbands and wives, while the second discusses children. The third section takes a peek at lovers of various sorts, and the fourth considers friends (and a few celebrated enemies). Throughout the unit we examine marriage customs, family structure, and the humanist idea of platonic love (as well as the more earthly sort of love), and we learn more about the objects—paintings, sculpture, commemorative medals, and domestic articles—through which these complex and overlapping connections were expressed.