Portrait of Thomas More, Hans Holbein – Description

Description of the picture:

Portrait of Thomas More – Hans Holbein. 1527. Wood, tempera. 74.2 x 59 cm

   Holbein is an outstanding portrait painter with a unique ability not only to convey the smallest details, but also perfectly capture the expressive facial features of the portrayed. A striking example of his outstanding work is the portrait of the brilliant thinker and politician Thomas More.

   A man of great intelligence, the owner of powerful charisma, Mor became a victim of political intrigue and was executed. Later, he was ranked among the saints of the Catholic Church, and thinkers of the humanistic trend rarely receive this honor.

   The portrait of Thomas More is a magnificent work both from the point of view of the artistic mastery of Holbein the Younger, and from the side of expressiveness and the impression made on the viewer. The simple, even gruff face of Mora expresses inexorability and tremendous willpower, an inquiring mind shines in his eyes, his lips are tightly compressed, as if he had a presentiment of his difficult fate. In his hands is a document – a kind of testament to his descendants to remember and study his works.

   From an artistic point of view, this portrait is an impeccably executed work. With great skill, the texture of a variety of fabrics was conveyed on it. A heavy draped curtain with dark fringe in the background shines with gold. This is green silk or brocade, contrasting with the rich depth of the brown velvet of Mora’s clothes. The fur collar and sleeve edging were also masterfully written out. The reddish fur seems soft and warm, it is so realistic depicted. It blends in color with chocolate velvet and olive green drapery.

   As a master of details, Holbein could not miss the opportunity to portray complex jewelry on the clothes of the thinker. This is not just a precious golden thing, but evidence of his high position, for Mor was a member of the Privy Council and Lord Chancellor of King Henry VIII, who subsequently ordered the execution of his friend and assistant. On a powerful chain and pendant, you can consider every detail, including such a landmark element as the famous “Tudor Rose”.

   The color scheme of the canvas is rich and rich, but not bright. The colors are not striking, they are slightly muted and noble, as befits a portrait of a great thinker. Holbein was distinguished by excellent taste and mastery of layout, so all of his works have a solid composition, are expertly executed and filled with deep meaning."