The portrait of Sir Richard Southwell, painted by the German artist Hans Holbein in 1536-37, is an exemplary work of art. The painting shows Southwell, one of King Henry VIII’s favorite courtiers, standing with a cold and somewhat sinister expression. This depiction showcases Holbein’s exceptional skills as a painter and draftsman.
The artwork can be seen today at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The portrait was also required by Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici in 1620 to Thomas Howard, Duke of Arundel, to fill a gap in the family collections. Aside from being a member of Henry VIII’s court and having worked for Cromwell as one of his most loyal and unscrupulous followers, not much else is known about Sir Richard Southwell’s life.
Throughout his career as an artist during the Renaissance period, Holbein created some of the most famous portraits in history. His works were notable for their precision and exactitude that conveyed both physical features and personality traits through body language and facial expressions. In conclusion, Holbein’s portrayal of Sir Richard Southwell remains as impressive today as it did when it was first created over five hundred years ago.