Let’s take a closer look at The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger. I’ll cover:
- Key Details
- Key Features
- Main Colors
- Rule of Thirds
- Quotes about the painting
- Similar Paintings
- Other Resources
- Want to Learn More?
(Click here to download a high-resolution image of the painting.)
Date created: 1533
Dimensions: 81 x 82.5 inches
Current ownership: National Gallery London
Medium: Oil on oak
The main features of the painting are:
Symbolism: The painting has symbolic undertones. Notice the distorted skull at the bottom.
Value: The lights and shadows are finely rendered. Notice the smooth value gradations.
Color contrast: Warm reds against cool greens.
Intricate brushwork and detail: The painting has a refined finish.
Complexity: Notice all the intricate patterns and objects.
Below are the main colors used in the painting. Copy the hex code for use in Photoshop or other editing software.
(You can check the color palette of paintings using this tool by Adobe.)
Here’s the painting in grayscale so you can clearly see the different values (lights and shadows):
(Use this free image tool to apply a grid and grayscale to photos of your paintings.)
Below is a notan of the painting created using Photoshop. This is the most basic design of lights and darks. It often reveals subtle value patterns that are easy to miss in the full-color image.
Below is the painting with a grid over the top so we can analyze it in terms of the rule of thirds. The grid lines and intersections are considered aesthetically pleasing areas.
The work has been described as “one of the most staggeringly impressive portraits in Renaissance art.” Wikipedia
Here are some similar paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger:
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