Art ... ArtSleuth Two men beside a set of shelves… … littered with objects. A picture by Holbein! At first sight, wealth, power and arrogance personified. But something jars! This pale and threatening shape suspended below them ... The first step towards deciphering the picture’s meaning is to look at it sideways; when we do, the rich trappings fade out - and the ultimate victor comes into focus! Death eclipses everything! So what does this carefully constructed scene really mean? These two men, are they trampling death underfoot - or is it preparing to seize them? Episode 6: "The Ambassadors" by Hans Holbein "Can death be defeated?" Part 1: Death - the Invincible Trying to beat death? The two humans in the picture in their heavy clothing … …and cluttered setting… … with its jumble of motifs : do they look like winners? Their world seems artificial, ponderous and static … … while death, by comparison, looks sleek and dynamic! The only natural, non-fabricated object in the picture, the skull has its own special lighting, from the right … … and its own vigorous diagonal. Apparently wearing ... an ear-to-ear grin, it even seems to be the picture’s real hero! Initially, then, the moral seems obvious - and edifying: Death enters, and the world and its vanities simply disappear: neither wealth, power nor even knowledge can save us! But the barely visible figure of Christ in the top left-hand corner reminds us that there is a second viewpoint, which wipes death itself from the picture. Holbein is using our "physical" movement, as we view his picture from different angles, ... to make us realise that we must move "spiritually" as well, ... as we turn away from the things of this world… towards God and salvation in the next. But that is not the Ambassadors’ only message! We must also move into the picture, immersing ourselves in its details, and particularly the sturdy, H-shaped set of shelves on which the two men are leaning. They seem to lord it over death - but where does their self-assurance come from? Part 2: "Death - and Politics" 1533: Two ambassadors … Both young: their ages are marked discreetly on a dagger, 29… and a book, 25. Both French: they wear the insignia of the Order of St. Michael, instituted by the King of France And both sharing the same vision of diplomacy – a vision symbolised on the shelves. On the upper shelf, perfection - the divine order. On the lower shelf, confusion - the worldly order, insecure and beset by evil omens: The flute case with one flute missing The broken lute-string The arithmetical treatise open at “division” And the topsy-turvy globe. All of this reflects a major problem: France... ...is Europe’s leading power... ...but the balance is now tipping in favour of... ...its rivals, and its very survival is at risk. Portugal and Castille are building global empires. With the Pope’s blessing, they are carving up the world and sharing it: the new lands discovered east of this boundary go to Portugal, those west of it to Spain. To make things worse, Castille and Aragon are ruled by France’s hereditary enemy, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. And the English still hold Calais. In effect, France is surrounded all on all sides. The Ambassadors’ job is to save it, and they hold four strong diplomatic cards to help them do that: The first, symbolised by this hymn - the work of Luther, founder of Protestantism… … is the division of Christendom between Catholics and Protestants! By supporting the Protestant princes and towns, they can weaken the Empire, which is already fragmented into thousands of states. The second is their contacts with the Muslim world, symbolised by this carpet. When Holbein paints his picture, the Ottomans have reached the gates of Vienna and are threatening Christendom. But this doesn’t stop the ambassadors from negotiating a treaty with them, and so forcing the Empire to move its forces east. The third is the love-life of the King of England, symbolised by this tiled floor, which replicates that in London’s Westminster Abbey. France has backed the King’s decision to repudiate his first wife, who has links with the Empire, and marry Anne Boleyn. This is its way of forestalling a possible alliance between England and the Empire. In short, "the Ambassadors" embody a new religion: a religion which allows a country to side with the enemies of Papacy, Christendom and Empire whenever its own vital interests are at stake: politics and raison d’état are its guiding principles. The idea comes from Machiavelli’s "The Prince," which pre-dates "The Ambassadors" by one year - and shows that politics follows rules of its own. “"To maintain the state, the prince is often obliged to act in a manner contrary to humanity," ... "...charity and religion." "He should, whenever possible, follow the path of virtue, ..." "...but should also be able, in case of necessity, to follow that of vice.”" Essentially, "The Ambassadors" celebrates three kinds of movement: -"spiritual, as the converted believer..." ...turns from the world and its vanities to God; -"diplomatic, as national envoys conjure peace from conflict;" -"artistic," as Holbein gives us an illusion of reality which comes and goes with our shifting viewpoint. Life and death are intertwined: we must face that fact or perish! "The Ambassadors" holds more secrets... Watch the film in its original long version (available on DVD and VOD) Next episode: Bellini "Beyond movement: the vitality of Nature" For more information, visit www.canal-educatif.fr Written and directed by: Produced by: Funding: sponsors & public support Voiceover: Editing & motion graphics: Extra editing / Sound recording Musical selection: Music Special thanks: English subtitles: Vincent Nash A CED film
Video Description: L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) for Art & Craft 2023 is part of L'Art en Question (nouvelles versions) - 10 œuvres preparation.
The notes and questions for L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) have been prepared according to the Art & Craft exam syllabus.
Information about L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) covers all important topics for Art & Craft 2023 Exam.
Find important definitions, questions, notes, meanings, examples, exercises and tests below for L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte).
Video Lecture & Questions for L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) Video Lecture | Study L'Art en Question (nouvelles versions) - 10 œuvres - Art & Craft | Best Video for Art & Craft - Art & Craft full syllabus preparation | Free video for Art & Craft exam to prepare for L'Art en Question (nouvelles versions) - 10 œuvres.
Information about L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte)
Here you can find the meaning of L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) defined & explained in the simplest way possible.
Besides explaining types of L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) theory, EduRev gives you an ample number of questions to practice L'Art en Question 6 : HOLBEIN - Les Ambassadeurs (version courte) tests,
examples and also practice Art & Craft tests.