Arts & Culture

Portrait of Henry VIII of England

Hans Holbein, the YoungerAround 1537

Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza
Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza

Portraiture was the most popular genre in sixteenth-century England, and indeed one of the few available to artists following the schism between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, of which Henry VIII became head. This likeness of the famous Tudor king is a magnificent example of Holbein's remarkable style, characterised by a monumental rendering of figures which are nonetheless endowed with considerable psychological depth. In this markedly linear portrait, Holbein uses the frontal pose of the regal model and the position of his hands to convey the sitter's powerful personality and majestic bearing.

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