It’s 1539. Henry VIII is 48 years old and single. Wife 1 didn’t work out, Wife 2 got beheaded, Wife 3 died. The Hunt For Wife 4 is on:
King Henry VIII of England was considering a royal marriage with Cleves, so following negotiations with the duchy, Hans Holbein the Younger, Henry’s court painter, was dispatched to paint Amalia and Anne, both of whom were possible candidates, for the freshly widowed king in August 1539. After seeing both paintings, Henry chose Anne.
There is a tradition that Holbein’s portrait flattered Anne, derived from the testimony of Sir Anthony Browne.
Is this Amalia?:
Wikipedia says so but the Royal Collection won’t admit it.
When he met Anne in person Henry was bummed:
succinctly put in:
The Metropolitan Museum has five portraits that they’re pretty sure are by Hans Holbein The Younger. Let’s have a look:
Here is Derick Berck of Cologne:
Here is Erasmus of Rotterdam:
Here is a member of the Wedigh family, probably Hermann von Wedigh:
“Truth breeds hatred,” is what that note in the book says, according to the Met, which “perhaps served as the sitter’s personal motto.” Weird motto, bro.
And here is Man In A Red Cap:
Now. Take a look at this one, of “Lady Lee”:
The Met says “The painting is close to the manner of Holbein, but the attention paid to decorative effects and linear details at the expense of life-like portrayal of the sitter is indicative of workshop production. The portrait was likely based on a Holbein drawing.”
(Are these guys for real?)