Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 (landmark painting of the modern era)
British Museum, London

Discussion Topics
- photographic realism
- perspective, framing, the window, the screen
- the positioning of the viewer in relation to the work
- spatial dimensionality of virtual space.
- photographic realism
- socio-cultural narrative
- commentary on its socio-historical context

The Modern Era began with
- the movable type (Gutenberg)
- artificial perspective
- capital investment and colonialism through oceanic travel internalized. (Conley)

-A painting that reverberates the issues of the times - a new medium: from tempera to oil (Berger)
-Oil paint : the best simulation at the time of materiality, texture, feel of objects for fur, silk, metal, wood, velvet, marble, paper, felt: tactile sensation.
-materiality expressed - a cultural and ideological position.

- Jean de Denteville (L), Lazar de Selve (R)
- Ambassadors at a time of developing world colonialism
- one will become a bishop - the alliance between the church and the state
- men of power, showingly dressed who stand by "protecting" the objects between them.
- Positioned between them new inventions, representing the five senses
- table loaded with paraphernalia of human learning which relate to practical mathematics, knowledge about the world.
- These commodities are visual tangible evidence of a different world:
" makes the subject more likely to see what it has made - rather then to feel itself connected with or what has made it" (Conley, 47)

Crucifix half hidden behind curtain -
1) reminder that spirituality is above human experience
2) or that materialism has come to dominate human thinking,

Framing & Composition
- The photographic realism, flatness, perspective and heavily balanced composition strongly centers us in front of the painting.

Anamorphic Image
-1st viewed coming through upper right door on wall
- Semi hidden skull - reminder of mortality
- also a commanding sign of what cannot be represented in the picture
- We look at the painting from the front but to see the skull we have to look at it from the edge
- Two competing systems of viewing: perspectival and anamorphic
- When one system is readable, the other is not
- The skull then suggests a multiple entry/view of the picture:
that there is another point of looking outside of our "center"
- Psychoanalytic perspective: Jacques Lacan:
1) The skull disrupts our trust in the Cartesian perspective center
2) In the same way, our trust in our own reality (belief systems) becomes distabilised