I’m afraid that this little post is unfortunately only  – well – a little one this time. I am still immersed in secretive artistic endeavours that come with threats, to both body and soul that still prohibit me sharing anything. Bit frustrating really, as though the hours are long and I have surprised myself with how much that I have done, I am really enjoying myself but do wish my efforts could be let off the leash. Sadly not.

What I’m doing is not so far from my corner that I have happily painted myself into over the years, but has warranted a little more research outside the confines of my own imagination. Probably a very healthy thing to do – every now and again. So – flicking through many heavy tomes and grimoires my roving eyes were constantly transfixed by this gentleman as his eyes seemingly locked on to mine – no matter how fast I was thumbing through the pages.

A certain gentleman – Charles de Solier. An advisor and chamberlain to King Francis 1st of France. Also, a respected diplomat and an active field commander. That would look good on your passport, especially with a face like that.   I do not intend a history lesson, or even an artistic appraisal. You can assuredly all do that for yourselves very well. I just wanted to share my continued amazement every time I see it. I’m sure I have been aware of it way back in art college days. The painting would pop up somewhere, hit me over the head, and then recede as other visual necessities jostled for place. For the last year, as I have worked on this project, his visits have been more frequent yet the intensity has not faded. Clever chap that Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98 – 1543).

That’s what floors me – this was done in 1534 or 35. With no “reference” as we would understand it today. No Google search, no camera, nothing. Everything just observed from life. Nearly 500 years ago. And there is no hint of stylisation, cliche or pandering to the punters ego. Not even any dramatic lighting or particularly ominous shadows. He just painted what he saw. Old Charles de Solier is as real in 2018 as he was – no doubt was back in 1535. I have always loved Holbein and there are many incredible portraits to his name which, as well as making his contemporaries look rather tawdry, must have caused many hogs-hair brushes to be snapped asunder and just as many feet to have been kicked through canvasses in frustration.

This one is the real gem though, and I just wanted to share it. It’s way better than anything I could show you with my signature on the bottom.