National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Sir Brian Tuke Hans Holbein the Younger (artist)
German, 1497/1498 - 1543
Sir Brian Tuke, c. 1527/1528 or c. 1532/1534
oil on panel
overall: 49.1 x 38.5 cm (19 5/16 x 15 3/16 in.) framed: 67 x 57.5 x 7.6 cm (26 3/8 x 22 5/8 x 3 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
1937.1.65
On View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 8 of 12

This portrait, with its meticulous rendering of the fur collar and cloth-of-gold sleeves, was painted during Holbein's first stay in England in 1526-1528. Sir Brian Tuke was one of those rare persons who was comfortable in the worlds of both scholarship and government. He served Henry VIII as Master of the Posts and as treasurer and secretary to the royal household, but he was also an intimate of the literary, intellectual circle around Sir Thomas More. Holbein portrayed Tuke with impartial accuracy yet also managed to convey a gentle melancholy in the unfocused gaze and wan smile. Tuke's name, age of fifty-seven, and personal motto, "Upright and Forward," bracket his head. He points to a paper with a quotation from the Book of Job: "Are not the days of my life few?"

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