Ambassadors , The (Hans Holbien) Easter Egg - Death's Product

Near the bottom of this piece , warped only by the mind of a true master is a human skull. I think that he was trying to imply that Death is just around the corner

User Rating:
5.8
  5.8/10 with 102 votes
Contributed By: Anonymous on 08-17-1999
Reviewed By: Webmaster
Special Requirements: Two acutely sensitive eyes
Please correct this Egg if you see errors.

Pictures and Videos

None posted yet. Send us yours and be the first!

Comments

peterb writes:
I read somewhere that this painting was originally intended to be hung on a wall halfway up a grand staircase, which is why Holbein painted the elongated skull on it at that angle. The whole painting was visible from a distance in the normal way, but if you walked up the stairs, you would see the painting almost edge on. The picture of the two ambassadors was not visible at that angle, but the skull jumped out in 3D at you because you were looking at it foreshortened by the angle. Dramatic effect! Like those ads painted into the grass at sports grounds look distorted from anywhere else but the TV camera angle - only more so. Try it with a reproduction of the painting if they won't let you lay on the floor of the National Gallery.
26 of 34 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Lisa_Rachel writes:
Also, if you take a look in the upper-left corner of the painting, the green curtain is folded over a bit and you can see a silver figure of Christ. You will have to look at a full version of the painting-- sometimes on web sites it is cropped. Make of it what you will. Some argue that it represents the omnipresence of Christ in the world.
10 of 14 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Mark Knutsen writes:
The URL at the National Gallery has changed. Try this one: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/WebMedia/Images/13/NG1314/eNG1314.jpg Or, use their search service for the artist "Holbein".
9 of 13 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
I don't know about Holbien having a warped mind......but he certainly knew about the laws of perspective, this was how he created the skull. The skull can be seen immediately as long as you are viewing it from the correct angle. Most great artists took into consideration what height and distance their canvasses would be viewed at and they used foreshortening to ensure that their images were viewed in proportion.
8 of 11 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
JR Naibridge writes:
That is the essence of the painting. It is the spectre of death, the hidden yet truthful realisation of human mortality. Whilst the ambassadors stand there proudly amid their tools of knowledge, death is constantly there. It is not instantly recognisable, but it is impossible to ignore. Just as with death it takes a while to recognise the skull for what it is.
7 of 11 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Wench writes:
My parents have a reproduction of this painting hung in their house, but someone made the daft decision to put it in a huge thick frame, so it is almost impossible to see the skull properly. Philistines!
3 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
I've read in an Illustarted Knowledge magazine that it's suspected that a lot of the Renaissance artists used a Camera Obscura to make a black and white photo, which they then painted. They suspected this painting as one of them, and that the strange-looking cranium is just result of a wrong-angled tablescloth. I don't know whether it's true though.
3 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
smmc writes:
The artist's name, Holbein, translates to mean "hollow bone" which would be a skull. The hidden skull may be a comment on death's ever presence but more likely it was a clever signature. It was not accidental, as others have suggested, but very intentionally added by Holbein. That becomes obvious when it is seen.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
MattM writes:
I went to see this painting at a Holbien exhibition in the National Gallery, London - if you choose the correct viewing point for the skull, it comes perfectly into perspective - it's amazing to look at in real life - very weird.
3 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
egg master writes:
are you sure that is hidden.that is very clear skull
0 of 0 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
w.j. writes:
This is the whole idea of the painting! Meaning with all the riches of life there is always the spectre of death. And if you look at the painting from a different angle the skull become clearer.
2 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Hazard Edge writes:
Wow, that really works, from the website, you have to look at it from the edge of your monitor and work your way up, it does look like it gyrates.
2 of 8 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No


Register - Privacy Policy - About Us - Contact Us