12a) Political and moral portrait : Henry VIII by Hans Holbein





  1. Who is the sitter for this portrait ? Describe the way he is dressed.
  2. Look at the composition lines of the painting. In what geometrical figure can you fit the main character ?
  3. What is the purpose of the rugs and tapestries that form the background of this portrait ?
  4. What are the details in the painting ? Concentrate your attention on jewels, fabrics and colours.
  5. What impression do we gain of the person who is being painted ?
  6. What do you know about this monarch and can you imagine why he wanted this portrait to be painted ?


Words to help you : try to use as many as possible in your answers.

  • a rug (on the floor)
  • a tapestry (on the wall)
  • patterns, designs
  • fabric = woven materiel
  • a padded doublet = un pourpoint matelassé
  • a fur cap
  • square-toed shoes
  • heavy jewellery
  • precious stones
  • a dagger
  • a Knight of the Garter
  • adjectives : powerful, domineering, massive, opulent, luxurious
  • a ruff = a lace collar
  • a doublet = a jerkin