“A double portrait of a notary public and judge Thomas Godselw and his son John,” Hans Golbein the Younger – overview

“A double portrait of a notary public and judge Thomas Godselw and his son John,” Hans Golbein the Younger
“A double portrait of a notary public and judge Thomas Godselw and his son John,” Hans Golbein the Younger - overview - 1

    • Posted by Hans Golbein the Younger
    • Museum: Dresden Gallery
    • Year: 1528

Overview of the painting :

A double portrait of notary and judge Thomas Godselw and his son John – Hans Golbein the Younger. 1528. Wood, tempera. 35×36

The profession, as you know, leaves an imprint on the appearance of a person. Art knows the brightest incarnations of representatives of different professions. One such example is the painting by Hans Golbein the Younger, painter and draftsman, the greatest German artist, the largest representative of his family.

According to the Latin inscription on the paper held by the man on the right, he is identified as Thomas Godselv. About Sir Godselve it is known that he was born in Norwich; at the time of writing the portrait, he was 47 years old (this is also contained in the inscription). The wealthy landowner and close friend of Thomas Cromwell, a statesman, the main ideologist of the English Reformation, one of the founders of the Anglicanism, was a judge and notary by profession. The name of the young man on the left is not indicated directly in the picture. However, the apparent similarity of the features of both indicates that it is father and son. It was emphasized by the artist of the same angle and similarity in their clothes (although the latter can be explained by professional reasons – such was the vesting of a lawyer of that time). Thanks to contacts with Cromwell, Godselva’s son, John, later became secretary of the Chancellor of the Treasury (when Thomas Cromwell himself was the chancellor), and then the chancellor.

It is difficult to say that it was a reason for the master to move away from the usual style of depicting the characters in a face, the look of both is confined to something, apparently very important, beyond the edge of the picture. One can only guess what it could be: is Cromwell invisible here??