March 04, 2006

An inspiring picture for the red/pink month of Project Spectrum. Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein, it's in the Louvre.

Holbein was obviously really involved in painting this dress - look at the depth of colour in the red velvet, the detail in the embroidery.

This portrait was painted for Henry VIII, when he was looking for his fourth wife. The story goes that Holbein painted her straight on to disguise her plain-ness, that by the time Henry saw Anne it was too late to cancel the wedding, that he was so repulsed he couldn't consummate the marriage and that she was so simple she didn't realise until he forced an annulment on her so he could marry Catherine Howard.

But I think there was probably a lot more to Anne. She and Henry were obviously not compatible, not attracted to each other. But she came out of it better than any of Henry's other wives - one of the richest women in England, with a fine independent domestic life and lived to be friends with Elizabeth as she rose to the throne. And just look at the size of that waist!


Blogger Sharon J said...

I don't suppose she particularly fancied him, either.


9:28 pm  
Anonymous p said...

nah, don't think he was exactly a hunk by that point... :)

7:36 am  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I thought it turned out well for both of them! Anne had the best deal of any of Henry's wives, I think.

7:52 pm  
Anonymous Annie said...

I just read "The other Boleyn girl" which was wonderful, and it inspired me to do some research on Henry's other wives. What a story!

4:31 am  

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