Ambassadors - Hans Holbein the Younger. 207x209.5
A rare picture causes such heated debate and discussion about its content as "Ambassadors" of Hans Holbein the Younger. On the left, as it is established, is the 29-year-old French ambassador to England Jean de Denteville, on right - Georges de Selv, Bishop of Lavoie, who visited London in April 1533. It is astonishing to the young man of 25 how many important missions he was entrusted with at this age — he was an envoy to the Venetian Republic and the Vatican.
Representatives of the intellectual elite are captured in the surroundings of various objects testifying to their interests. Depicted are many measuring instruments necessary to navigate in time and space. They are extremely interesting to consider. For example, on the sides of the polyhedron of a sundial, different points are indicated as a guideline, this is due to time zones. Since the ambassadors traveled a lot (time zones were not de jure in that era, they existed de facto), such clocks helped them orient themselves in local time and correlate it with London. The artist also drew books, including a collection of Luther's hymns. Here are physical instruments and musical instruments, in the central place there is a lute, a case for flutes. The most mysterious object, which could not be determined for a long time, is lying on the floor, which is extremely optically altered (from the point of view of the image) ... skull.
A picture is not just a portrait, it carries a certain symbolic message. The skull, of course, introduces into it the motive of the temporality of the earthly existence "Memento mori" (from Latin - "Remember death"). Some objects can be read as a hint of a religious schism and heated discussions, the dangling string of a lute is interpreted in this vein.