Location: Hans Holbein Paintings & Sketches

Discussion: Hans downReported This is a featured thread

Showing 1 - 11 of 11  |  Show  posts at a time
karenofbethany
karenofbethany
Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 1:58 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 1:58 AM EST
Many authors indicate that Hans Holbein altered (fudged) his portrait of Anne of Cleves to make her more palatable to the King. Why? What could he gain from deceiving Henry? What if there had been cameras ... do you think Henry would have rejected her if he didn't like her photo?

Other monarchs made matches not so much for love or attraction, but political alliances, and that this is what Cromwell was trying to achieve. Even Henry admitted Anne was a kind woman with a pleasing personality, but he wasn't "in love" (i.e., for Henry, in lust) with her. Do you think that, if Henry had overcome his "aversion" and "done his duty" she might have made a good queen - even given him a son?

And why did Holbein go to such trouble and possibly risk his own neck to make her look better?
1  out of 3 found this valuable. Do you?    
Bluevanillalady
Bluevanillalady
1. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 5:43 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 5:43 AM EST
I read somewhere that he did the picture from a "flattering" angle. Apparently she had quite the pointy chin that ran through her family. I don't think she was that hideous from the pictures but I am not a 16th cent king either. I am sure there were other physical traits that he didn't like. At least he was kind to her and she seems to have been quite happy in the end. I think it was Cromwell that commissioned the picture. He was trying to play politics that would be to his advantage..It backfired and Cromwell was brought down by his enemy's due to this political fiasco. I think she would have been a good queen. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders (excuse the pun). She played her cards well and used her position to her advantage. Well played I think! Do you find this valuable?    
Bluevanillalady
Bluevanillalady
2. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 5:46 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 5:46 AM EST
By the way loved the title of the post! Do you find this valuable?    
beardedlady
beardedlady
3. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 7:29 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 7:29 AM EST
You know it’s funny but all accounts that I have read of Holbein’s work mention that he painted very true to life and was not a flatterer. It is true that he did not include Anne’s supposed pock marks. But come on….what artist would include pock marks? But Henry wasn’t the only one who made derogatory statements about her looks. Cardinal Farnese called her “old and ugly.” (she was 34)

This is one of those questions that is impossible to pinpoint for obvious reasons – beauty is subjective, 16th century standards of beauty were different from ours etc. etc.

It’s interesting to hear other people think that she is pretty because I have never seen what the big fuss is about her portrait. She's no slapper.

One of the reasons why Holbein might have been labeled as a “flatterer” is because of the portrait he painted of the Duchess of Milan.
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/WebMedia/Images/24/NG2475/eNG2475.jpg

Despite the fact that she has the typical Renaissance over plucked brows, I think she is very pretty. But all accounts report that she really was a great beauty. Henry was certainly taken with her portrait.

As far as Anne’s portrait being changed – I had never heard that. Very interesting. Do you know if the portrait was changed at the time it was painted or years later? I ask because portraits of Richard III were changed years after they were painted. X-rays show that another artist went in and painted his shoulder slightly higher probably to give credence to the hunchback rumor.
1  out of 1 found this valuable. Do you?    
Bluevanillalady
Bluevanillalady
4. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 8:20 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 8:20 AM EST
From what I understand of my wikipedia reading he just did the picture from a straight on view as opposed to a side view and that "hid" her features well enough. Apparently he was quite enamoured with her until he met her....like you said 16th cent....it was all subjective. She didn't look like she was too bad...I am sure there were worse! Do you find this valuable?    
MsSquirrly
MsSquirrly
5. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 8:26 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 8:26 AM EST
yes great name for the thread karen!

It reminds me a bit of the tudor version of online dating. LOL You get a short profile of the person with a one dimensional picture of them and when you meet them and see them in 3D ....they never quite look like their picture....even if its a recent picture and god knows people like to post pictures from 10 or more years ago. The thing is that when you use all your senses instead of just your eyes, you can get put off someone. For instance, Henry mentioned her "evil smells". Being from another country, she probably ate differently and perhaps her breath wasn't that pleasant to ole Henry? I read that Catherine Parr actually carried something which sweetened her breath at all times. I am sure theres more to it than just her looks. Plus she was very different from the english ladies and to Henry she probably seemed quite alien and he just didn't feel comfortable with her.
Do you find this valuable?    
karenofbethany
karenofbethany
6. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 11:44 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 11:44 AM EST
"yes great name for the thread karen!

It reminds me a bit of the tudor version of online dating. LOL You get a short profile of the person with a one dimensional picture of them and when you meet them and see them in 3D ....they never quite look like their picture....even if its a recent picture and god knows people like to post pictures from 10 or more years ago. The thing is that when you use all your senses instead of just your eyes, you can get put off someone. For instance, Henry mentioned her "evil smells". Being from another country, she probably ate differently and perhaps her breath wasn't that pleasant to ole Henry? I read that Catherine Parr actually carried something which sweetened her breath at all times. I am sure theres more to it than just her looks. Plus she was very different from the english ladies and to Henry she probably seemed quite alien and he just didn't feel comfortable with her."
What I am curious about is why Holbein went to so much trouble to do a "flattering" portrait (angle) when he would risk the King's ire when the King found out she was not as she appeared in it. Henry certainly freaked out enough. Somewhere I read people were amazed Holbein was not punished, but was forgiven, while Cromwell as we know was not. I recently read that they x-rayed the portrait and found her nose much longer, so at some point he did alter it. Also, I am intrigued because Katherine of Aragon, being spanish, was "foreign", too. Henry was no gentlemen sharing intimate bodily information about Anne of Cleves. And I've said before everybody made fun of her dowdy clothes, when they all knew that was the german fashion BEFORE he ever met her.
Do you find this valuable?    
MsSquirrly
MsSquirrly
7. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 12:00 PM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 12:00 PM EST
I think the portait did look enough like her that there was no need for Holbein to be punished. The problem of it being one dimensional wouldn't show the size of her nose and her clothes covered up her figure as they all did. I really think it was more than just looks that turned Henry off. As to him being a gentleman... his bedroom activities were closely monitored and he would have had to justify why he hadn't consummated the union which was seen as very important. Do you find this valuable?    
Bluevanillalady
Bluevanillalady
8. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 2:50 PM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 2:50 PM EST
"yes great name for the thread karen!

It reminds me a bit of the tudor version of online dating. LOL You get a short profile of the person with a one dimensional picture of them and when you meet them and see them in 3D ....they never quite look like their picture....even if its a recent picture and god knows people like to post pictures from 10 or more years ago. The thing is that when you use all your senses instead of just your eyes, you can get put off someone. For instance, Henry mentioned her "evil smells". Being from another country, she probably ate differently and perhaps her breath wasn't that pleasant to ole Henry? I read that Catherine Parr actually carried something which sweetened her breath at all times. I am sure theres more to it than just her looks. Plus she was very different from the english ladies and to Henry she probably seemed quite alien and he just didn't feel comfortable with her."
Too funny...I met my fiance on line and when I met him I looked for a hair line just in case he didn't look like the picture. Thankfully he did....I suppose it is the same in our 20th cent version though isn't it! We just don't have to commision some fabulous painter..thank goodness for photography.
Do you find this valuable?    
Rhaethe
Rhaethe
9. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 6:15 PM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 6:15 PM EST
" I recently read that they x-rayed the portrait and found her nose much longer, so at some point he did alter it. "
I believe it was the portrait of AoC done by Barthel Bruyn the Elder that was x-rayed and shown to have an originally longer nose.

This one -- http://www.tudorhistory.org/cleves/cleves3.jpg

Although my opinion was that the change was more due to a "Oh my, I made a mistake" type of revision as opposed to a "Mmmm, let me just make this prettier" type of revision. If that makes any sense ;)
1  out of 1 found this valuable. Do you?    
Anne'sCurls
Anne'sCurls
10. RE: Hans down
Jan 19 2009, 6:22 PM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2009, 6:22 PM EST
Ive seen 2 pix of Anne and in both of them she is still the best looking wife of the 6 and i find nothing unattractive about her. I believe it is Weir's book that said that Henry did not blame Holbein because he was an artist and they see things differently than normal peeps or something like that. In one of the pix her face is turned side ways and her nose is noticably longer, than in the famous one of hers. But that could be just the different angles. Her eyes are more hooded in this one as well but that still is not a turn off imo. Besides the nose and the eyes both pictures of her look very similar. Do you find this valuable?    

Related Content

  (what's this?Related ContentThanks to keyword tags, links to related pages and threads are added to the bottom of your pages. Up to 15 links are shown, determined by matching tags and by how recently the content was updated; keeping the most current at the top. Share your feedback on WikiFoundry Central.)