I saw this painting on a PBS program about Henry VIII and Hampton Court. It’s a massive painting, nearly 5 1/2 feet tall by 11 feet long, titled The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, commissioned by the king to commemorate a 1520 meeting at Calais with him and French king Francis I. It was a goodwill mission of sorts, trying to increase the bonds of friendship between the countries after a recent treaty. Of course, only a couple of years later they were at war. But while diplomacy may have failed at least an epic piece of art came from the whole thing.
The painting has been attributed to a number of painters over the ages, most notably Han Holbein, though nowadays its maker is listed as unknown. But what a dynamic and energetic painting! The color is bold and bright and the composition filled with movement throughout. I love the exaggeration of size and scale, which gives the epic scene have a more personal, human feel.
I woke up thinking about this painting. It makes me want to get out the stretcher bars and canvas and start another big piece. I know that they are not practical in many ways but there is something in the sheer size and space that just excites me and starts the creative fountain.