Portrait of Thomas Mora, Hans Golbein – overview

Portrait of Thomas Mora, Hans Golbein – overview
Portrait of Thomas Mora, Hans Golbein - overview - 1

  • Posted by Hans Golbein the Younger
  • Museum: Frick Collection, New York
  • Year: 1527

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Thomas Mora – Hans Golbein. 1527. Wood, tempera. 74.2 x 59 cm

   Holbein is an outstanding portrait painter with a unique ability not only to transmit the smallest details, but also perfectly fix the expressive facial features of the portraised. A striking example of his outstanding work is a portrait of a brilliant thinker and politician Thomas Mora.

   A man of great mind, the owner of powerful charisma, Mor was the victim of political intrigue and was executed. Later he was ranked among the saints of the Catholic Church, and thinkers of a humanistic direction are extremely rarely honored with this honor.

   The portrait of Thomas Mora is a magnificent work both from the point of view of the artistic skill of the Holbein the Younger, and from the side of expressiveness and the impression made on the viewer. The simple, even rude face of Mora expresses immaturity and tremendous willpower, an inquiring mind glows in his eyes, his lips are severely compressed, as if he were foreseeing his difficult fate. In his hands is a kind of testament to his descendants to remember and study his works.

   From an artistic point of view, this portrait is an impeccably performed work. With great skill, the texture of various tissues was transmitted on it. A heavy draped curtain with dark fringe in the background is highlighted in gold. This is green silk or brocade contrasting with the saturated depth of the brown velvet of Mora’s clothes. An equally masterly and a brook of sleeves is written in virtuoso. Reddish fur seems soft and warm, so realistic it is depicted. It goes well with chocolate velvet and olive green drapery.

   As a master of details, Golbein could not miss the opportunity to portray complex jewelry on the clothes of a thinker. This is not just a precious golden thing, but evidence of its high position, because Mor was a member of the Privy Council and Lord Chancellor of King Henry VIII, who subsequently ordered the execution of his friend and assistant. On a powerful chain and suspension, you can consider every detail, including such a landmark element as the famous Tudor Rose.

   The color scheme of the canvas is saturated and rich, but not bright. The colors are not striking, they are slightly muffled and noble, as befits a portrait of a great thinker. Golbein was distinguished by its excellent taste and skill in the layout, so all its works have a solid composition, are masterfully made and filled with deep meaning.