A Standard Bearer

Sebald Beham1519

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Hans Sebald Beham chose an unusual pose for his standard bearer. Artists typically portrayed such figures in motion, striding forward with a flag fully unfurled, but Beham chose a static, frontal composition instead. The standard bearer strikes a classical contrapposto pose to balance the visual and actual weight of the massive flag, drawn with delicate penmanship.

The standard bearer wears an elegant doublet with wide, flowing sleeves that have been quite literally "torn to ribbons." The fashion for slashing garments became extremely popular in Europe in the early 1500s, particularly in Germany, where it reached the most extravagant levels. Tailors cut slits in the clothing and pulled the lining through to show off its different color. In the same lavish style, the man wears tights held up with ribbons tied below the knee and a broad hat covered with multiple long plumes. Throughout the drawing, the nineteen-year-old artist used distinctive strokes such as the short, hooked lines on the man's thighs and gnarled collarbone. In the dark folds of the flag, Beham explored shadowy areas through varied patches of dark hatching.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: A Standard Bearer
  • Creator: Sebald Beham
  • Date: 1519
  • Physical Dimensions: 18.1 x 9.5 cm (7 1/8 x 3 3/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and black ink
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Dated at the top by the artist in black ink, "1519".
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 94.GA.53
  • Inscription: Inscribed in the bottom left corner, in black ink, "Christof amberger". On the verso, inscribed at the lower center in ligature, in brown ink, "SB", and at the bottom, in graphite, "Schaufelein"[?] and an illegible inscription.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Drawings


Translate with Google