The Ambassadors

Who?  Hans Holbein the Younger

What?  Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve.  More commonly known as The Ambassadors.

Where?  The National Gallery, London

When?  Yesterday, today, tomorrow and long after all of us are gone.

Why?  Take a look! 

Ok, because of the intricacy of the patterns on the curtains and the tiles and the robes.  Because of the enigmatic symbolism of all those important instruments laid out before us.  Because of the nobility of the ambassadors, and the sympathy we can surmise Holbein felt for them, himself a long way from home.  Because of the sneaky crucifix in the top left corner, a subtle reminder of our own mortality (and, fingers crossed, redemption).  Because of the BIG FUCK-OFF SKULL stretched across the foreground, a less subtle reminder of our own mortality.  Because it’s a truly incredible painting and if you haven’t seen it already I command you to do so now.

 

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