Monday, April 22, 2013

Northern European Renaissance (pt. 15)

Henry VIII, as you know, is somewhat infamous for having many wives (six).  After his third wife died, the king was in search for a bride and was considering Anne of Cleaves, a German noblewoman.  The king asked Holbein to paint a portrait of Anne to bring back to him and show him whether or not she was beautiful enough to be his bride.  Sir Thomas Cromwell, the king's chief minister, instructed Holbein to paint a beautiful portrait of Anne because her marriage to the king was desired; yet Holbein also had to paint Anne as realistically as possible, for such were the king's orders.
When the artist visited the Lady Anne, she turned out to be dull, plain, and uneducated.  And so Hans Holbein was faced with a challenge: he had to paint Anne as beautiful but also had to show her plainness to the king.  The finished product...
Henry VIII married Anne but soon became enraged by her dull character, and the two were divorced only months later.  The artist, however, was never punished.

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