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Showing posts from February, 2022

Masters and Servants

  Being almost square, this Holbein portrait is unusual, but there’s more that makes this particular one special.   The life-likeness of a man who lived some 500 years ago; the wonderful textures and freshness of skin, feather and cloth; the intriguing composition and disposition, creating that powerful sense of expectancy, awareness of things about to happen…   The man’s attention is drawn outside the picture – he’s watching and waiting. Waiting for something to appear, some other sort of development, a request, an order even? And, although hooded, so is the falcon, which unable to watch, simply waits.   Robert Cheseman served his master, Henry VIII as his representative in Middlesex.   Sometime after this portrait was painted, he was called upon to go to meet and bring Anne of Cleves to her husband-to-be – an unproductive foray it turned out to be, but that’s another story. (Although interestingly a portrait played an important role in that episode).   Robert Cheseman for his part wa