This painting is really about things you can’t see. It was painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in the year 1533 in England. On the left is an Ambassador from France, Jean de Dinteville; who commissioned this painting and lived in England at the time. On the right Georges de Selve is a bishop who is also an Ambassador. This painting has many references to the turmoil that was taking place in England. On the left, the Ambassador is represented as more of a wealthy man, with the fur lining cloak and the velvet satin clothing that he is wearing. He is also holding a dagger that has his age inscribed (29.) On the right, the Ambassador is dressed a little more modestly. The Ambassador on the right also has his age portrayed in the painting on the book he’s leaning on (25.) The dagger on the left and the book on the right, both with the depiction of the age of each of the Ambassadors, show a great idea of contrast: Active vs Contemplative life. In the middle of the painting, Holbein brilliantly renders with intense detail the textures and material of the objects. The top shelf symbolizes the heavens with objects that are used for the study of astronomy, and the measuring of time. The Lower shelf symbolizes things that are more earthly: terrestrial globe, book of arithmetic and hymns, and a lute. If the painting is looked at from a grid point of view, the left portrays an act of life, the right portrays contemplate of life, the top portrays the celestial sphere and the bottom portrays the terrestrial sphere. Then there is also a very detailed and foreshortened lute on the bottom shelf. It is much shorter than it should be because it is seen on end. If the Lute is looked at very carefully, one of the strings are broken (snapped), which is referring to the “discord” in Europe at the time. The book of hymns on the same shelf also has a symbolic aspect related to the turmoil in Europe. If the detailed musical notes are examined, the musical notes depicted in the book of hymns are musical notes of a song by Martin Luther King, the head of the Reformation at the time. Then if the painting is seen from an angle, a skull can be seen. The skull is something you can’t see, when you see other things. The skull serves as a “momentum mori” in the painting, a reminder of the inevitable death. For a moment when it seemed like Holbein was celebrating the earthly achievements of human kind, he undercuts it with a reminder of the inevitable. Also, in the extreme upper left corner, there is a sculpture of a crucifies. The crucifies in the painting also serves as a symbol, to remind the audience that as much as you achieve in life, and as much as you try to hide religion or the higher power as the reason for achievements of human kind, it will still “peak through the curtains." Although at first Holbein’s painting might seem a little overwhelming, if it dissected, and examined closely it serves as a very symbolic piece of art, portraying different events, social classes, humankind’s acheivements, and different elements of the life and even death.