- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (25 Nov. 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857091736
- ISBN-13: 978-1857091731
- Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 0.9 x 27.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Holbein's Ambassadors: Making and Meaning (Making & Meaning) Paperback – 25 Nov 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
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The ambassadors from France depicted in the famous--and probably his best portrait--are Jean de Dinteville and George de Selve. In addition to the cover, the portrait or details of it are shown 14 times including the "X-radiograph" of 1984, the painting before cleaning, the messy one showing the panels after the cleaning but before the restoration and then--please be careful not to miss it!!--the full portrait after cleaning and restoration as it is installed in the National Gallery in London. (And PLEASE realize there's a big difference between the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.) This full painting is shown on the back cover and is 5 1/3" wide. I would have had no clue about the final rendering in the book had I not been consulting the index. Tucked, pretty well-hidden, inside the back cover is a pullout. It shows the painting 7 1/2" wide but, most unfortunately, it's only on the right-hand page of the fold-out. As the painting is almost square, had it been spread over both of the fold-out pages, it could have been about 10" wide. But I guess they didn't want the fold line to be visible on the middle of the painting. Ah well...there are enough details highlighted inside to make up for it.
The authors are quite expert in their discussion of this painting in connection with all of Holbein's work as well as other of his contemporaries and influences. I love the thorough discussion of the hidden and/or unusual elements in the painting. What the heck is the elongated skull for? Why is that crucifix peeking out from behind the far left curtain? What is the significance of the clothing, the floor, the items on the table?
Of particular interest to me, loving the study of textiles and embroidery of Tudor times is the embroidery and the oriental carpet. There are no extant carpets from those days but quite a bit because of Holbein's attention to detail do we see just how popular and prevalent were such carpets after trade with the East was opened up. And his detail extends to the gold and silver work on embroidered clothing--real metal threads--that the blackwork or double running stitch so popular on the garb of the ultra-rich of the day is fondly nicknamed the Holbein stitch, even today.
I have many books on Holbein and this is one of my favorites because it focuses on this one painting. It'll really be worth your time if you would like insights into these details as well.
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