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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:11

Video transcript

in Rome at the Palazzo Barberini and we're looking at one of the most famous portraits of Henry the eighth by Hans Holbein King Henry the eighth King of England on the occasion of his marriage to Anne of Cleves America that was purely political and was his fourth in a long series each as the portrait is a perfect expression of power of authority absolutely it's a rectangular painting slightly vertical but it's almost square he himself is almost square his body is almost a perfect square he fills out frame the frame in the entire shape of the panel look at the horizontality of those shoulders it's almost absurd yes part of it is his costume but nevertheless there's a sense of his absolute presence his face is completely frontal but his shoulders are slightly tilted back so he's a little bit off-center and almost seems to be slightly moving forward toward us so there's a little animation in the body yeah but the face is absolutely static and he looks directly at us he rules us the date is written in gold letters horizontally again above the shoulders really emphasizing his eyes yes emphasizing the eyes because as we read across those letters we read directly into his eyes and so a really interesting way of focusing more attention mm-hmm his clothing beautiful details of the gold stitching and embroidery and the jewels fur but I almost read that circular necklace around his chest and then the circular form completed above his head almost like a halo Oh interesting two arcs that really do various things he has this almost sense of being divine it's just drawing on that tradition I think the white of the feathers of the and the gold and the white of the pearls well certainly cement away this white fabric this way awesome fabric kind of poor sales maybe yeah so kind of I mean it's just fabulous purposes so animated just since we were talking about the geometry of the painting and you had pointed out the arc of the Hat and the arc of the necklace that arc has continued again by his arm and his belt right um and so this is real rhythm in second set that set up across across the surface is painting just in a purely formal way they kind of balance between circular forms it's - alright even his beard and his chin I actually continue that as well and to some extent his eyes but I think you pointed to something else which is really interesting the background is this simple deep aqua against which the tones of the flesh are beautifully contrast but the face itself is a broad plain just like the background and it's so beautifully offset against the it's almost absurd complexity of his wealth of his taste and his authority represented in his garment the man who tames his clothing when he's in control of his kingship clothing represents that sard he's clutching with his with his right hand his gloves but he's got his thumb hooked around the belt that actually holds his scabbard and you can see the handle of his sword and its sheath just at the bottom right of the canvas and so there's that threat that is never too far away yeah you said canvas but this would be on a pants right yes a long time yeah and actually you can tell it's a panel because there's a kind of rigidity to the surface and we know we're in the North here we know we're coming from that northern tradition because of just the way that he's painted all of those tiny well tell that the fascination within the nearly microscopic and you can see that in the Brocade absolutely you can see that in those large jewels in the silk that is pulled through absolutely what fun