Holbein details


The Merchant Georg Gisze (1532) by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Hans Holbein the Younger’s masterwork, The Ambassadors (1533), was one of the first paintings available for viewing when Google’s Art Project debuted in 2011. Not all the paintings that Google selects warrant the gigapixel treatment but The Ambassadors certainly does, as does this Holbein portrait of German merchant Georg Giese (Georg Gisze as he’s named in the picture) painted the year before. Holbein’s careful scrutiny and meticulous attention to detail give these pictures the appearance of 16th-century photographs. Crowded portraits such as this were intended to be closely studied, and the various objects read by the viewer, but book reproductions don’t always allow the proximity the artist intended. The heraldic crest on the signet ring lying on the table would have been a significant detail but it’s one that’s easy to miss without getting up close.




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