Holbein’s portrait

In this portrait, the lute was often seen as an attribute of the musician or the poet. Holbein’s lute player does not escape this critique convention, and because of its place at Henry VIII’s court, Philip van Wilder’s hypothesis was self-evident. The resemblance of the sitter to Dinteville’s portrait done by Clouet calls for The Ambassadors and its lute, with all its emblematic value. But the jewel that the model wears around his neck is a navy whistle, which ever since Henry VII characterized an admiral or a boat commander. Philippe Chabot, France admiral, to whom Alciat dedicated his Emblemata, was Francois I’s ambassador to Henry VIII’s court in 1534 and 1535. However, several contemporary examples show that these interpretations are not suitable in the Germanic art of the time.