An Allegory of Passion

Hans Holbein the Youngerabout 1532 - 1536

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The painted roundel in the center of this diamond-shaped wood panel features a rider in classical attire on a galloping white horse. A panel of this format usually depicted a coat of arms, but here it was adopted for a personal emblem. The unbridled horse-symbolic of vigor, ambition, or passion-carries a rider whose individualized features suggest it might be a portrait. Below, a cartouche holds the Italian inscription E cosi desio me mena (And so desire carries me along) taken from Petrarch's Canzoniere , written about 1342. The patron who commissioned the panel was probably a scholar and a humanist familiar with this text. The Allegory of Passion has a rich history of ownership. On the back of the panel is the monogram HP , which stands for Henry, Prince of Wales, the older brother of Charles I and one of the first serious art collectors in England. Richard Symonds, a British diarist, next mentioned the painting as being seen in the "Closett of the Lady Anne Mary Howard" at Arundel House in London in 1653.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: An Allegory of Passion
  • Date Created: about 1532 - 1536
  • Location: Northern European Paintings 1400-1600 (N203)
  • Physical Dimensions: w45.4 x h45.4 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=814
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • artist: Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/1498 - 1543)
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Horses, Passion, Myths and Stories

Additional Items

An Allegory of Passion (Supplemental)


Translate with Google