Largest UK Holbein exhibition started today (November 10th). There are more than 50 works from the Royal Collection. Overall, this includes drawings, paintings, and miniatures. The exhibition will take place at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in the largest UK exhibition of the artist’s work in over 15 years.
Largest UK Holbein Exhibition Focused on Henry VIII
Holbein at the Tudor Court brings together more than 100 objects to chart the career and legacy of the great Renaissance artist at Henry VIII’s court. The exhibition tells the story of Holbein’s time in England. It also navigates the shifting sands of religious reform and political intrigue to rise to the position of king’s painter. The painter also reveals the enduring images of Henry VIII and his circle that we know today.
At the heart of the exhibition are more than 40 of Holbein’s intimate portrait drawings of the royal family. Also, the Tudor nobility. They go from Jane Seymour to Sir Thomas More. Drawn from life during personal sittings in preparation for finished paintings, these closely observed studies imbue their subjects with a remarkable lifelike quality. They also brought the viewer as close as they will ever come to the men and women of Henry VIII’s court.
Kate Heard, curator of Holbein at the Tudor Court, said: “Holbein’s unparalleled ability to capture the essence of his subjects still astonishes nearly 500 years later. These drawings cannot be on permanent display for conservation reasons, so this is an exceptional opportunity for visitors to see for themselves the exquisite skill that made Holbein one of the greatest draughtsmen who ever lived”.
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Henry VIII’s Magnificent Armour Highlights the Exhibit
Among Holbein’s earliest royal portraits is a drawing of Anne Boleyn, one of the few surviving depictions drawn from life. Her informal gown suggests this may have been a preparatory drawing for a miniature, intended to be held in the hand and viewed privately by her husband, rather than displayed on a wall. Many of the drawings bear written reminders in English and German of details Holbein planned to return to.
He also makes sure to note the yellowish tinge in the eyes of Richard Southwell. He was a notoriously duplicitous man and convicted murderer who was one of Henry VIII’s closest advisers. Visitors will be encouraged to look closely at the tiny details that make Holbein’s portraits so lifelike. Also, to discover how the artist manipulated his materials to achieve them. At times, the viewer can feel his frustration as he reworks his compositions, struggling to capture the profile of the courtier William Reskimer’s nose.
Through paintings and decorative arts ranging from a Brussels tapestry to jewel-like miniature. The exhibition will demonstrate the vibrant international artistic culture that Holbein found on his arrival in England. A highlight will be Henry VIII’s magnificent armour, usually displayed at Windsor Castle and on show in London for the first time in a decade. The armour was famously designed by the German armourer Erasmus Kyrkenar to be adjustable, to accommodate the King’s expanding waistline.