An Allegory of Passion

Object Details


An Allegory of Passion


Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/1498 - 1543)




about 1532 - 1536


Oil on panel


45.4 x 45.4 cm (17 7/8 x 17 7/8 in.)

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The painted roundel in the center of this diamond-shaped wood panel features a rider in classical attire on a galloping white horse. A panel of this format usually depicted a coat of arms, but here it was adopted for a personal emblem. The unbridled horse-symbolic of vigor, ambition, or passion-carries a rider whose individualized features suggest it might be a portrait. Below, a cartouche holds the Italian inscription E cosi desio me mena (And so desire carries me along) taken from Petrarch's Canzoniere, written about 1342. The patron who commissioned the panel was probably a scholar and a humanist familiar with this text.

The Allegory of Passion has a rich history of ownership. On the back of the panel is the monogram HP, which stands for Henry, Prince of Wales, the older brother of Charles I and one of the first serious art collectors in England. Richard Symonds, a British diarist, next mentioned the painting as being seen in the "Closett of the Lady Anne Mary Howard" at Arundel House in London in 1653.

- about 1612

Prince Henry (Frederick) of Wales, 1594 - 1612 (London, England), by inheritance to his younger brother, Charles, about 1612.

about 1612 -

King Charles I of England, 1600 - 1649 (London, England), possibly by exchange with Thomas Howard.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, 1585 - 1646 (London; Arundel Castle, Sussex, England), probably by inheritance to Henry Howard, by 1653.

by 1653 - possibly 1684

Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk, 1628 - 1684 (Arundel Castle, Sussex, England)

by 1653 - possibly 1684

and Anne Mary (Somerset) Howard, died 1682, possibly by inheritance to their son, Henry Howard, possibly 1684.

possibly 1684 -

Henry Howard, seventh duke of Norfolk, 1655 - 1701 (Arundel Castle, Sussex, England)

- 1936

Rev. E.W.M. de la Hay, died 1936 (Cerney House, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. E.M.W. de la Hay, 1936.

1936 - 1953

Mrs. E.W.M. de la Hay (Cerney House, Gloucester, England) [sold, Hay sale, Knowles, Gloucester, 1953, to Thomas G. Burn.]

1953 - 1978

Thomas G. Burn (Rous Lench Court, Hereford and Worcester, England) [sold, Burn sale, Knowles, Gloucester, July 11, 1978, lot 281, to Anthony Haynes.]

1978 - 1979

Anthony Haynes (Coventry, West Midlands, England) [sold, Haynes sale, Christie's, London, February 9, 1979, lot 24, to Colnaghi, David Carritt, Ltd., Anthony Speelman, and William P. Garred.]

1979 - 1980

Colnaghi (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and David Carritt, Ltd. (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and Anthony Speelman (London, England)

1979 - 1980

and Dr. William P. Garred (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980.

The Earl and Countess of Arundel: Renaissance Collectors (May 2, 1995 to October 1, 1995) (34 items)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 2 to October 1, 1995
La Beaute (May 25 to October 1, 2000) (34 items)
  • Palais du Papes, (Avignon), May 25 to October 1, 2000
Holbein in England (September 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007) (34 items)
  • Tate Britain, (London), September 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007

Symonds, R. Manuscript notebook in the British Museum, Department of Manuscripts. (1653) Egerton ms 1636, f. 88v.

Vertue, G. Manuscript notebook, British Museum MS 23,081 f__. (1722)

Hervey, Mary F.S. The Life, Correspondance and Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. (Cambridge: 1921) p. 521.

Fletcher, John. "Exhibits at Ballots. 4. A panel-maker's k and Holbein's stay at Antwerp in 1526." Antiquaries Journal, vol. 61, no. 2. (1981) p. 339.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "E COSI DESIO ME MENA." J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 10. (Malibu: 1982) pp. 21-38.

Fletcher, John. "Panel Examination and Dendrochronology." J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 10. (1982) pp. 39-44.

Fletcher, John, and Margaret Cholmondeley Tapper. "Hans Holbein the Younger at Antwerp and in England, 1526-1528." Apollo. (February 1983) pp. 88-89, 91, 93, ill. pl. 90. p. IV.

Beal, Mary. A Study of Richard Symonds: His Italian Notebooks and Their Relevance to Seventeenth-Century Painting Techinques (New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1984) p. 298 (Ms. Egerton 1636, f. 178).

Fletcher, John. "The Study of Early Paintings on Flemish Panels." Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1984) pp. 10-12, 16, 21, 25, figs. 2B, 3-4.

Rowlands, John. Holbein. The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger. Complete Edition. (Oxford: 1985) p. 238, no. R.47.

Campbell, Lorne. "Review of Rowlands." Burlington Magazine, vol. 128, no. 995. (February 1986) p. 149.

Strong, Roy. Henry Prince of Wales and England's Lost Renaissance. (London: 1986) p. 194, fig. 102.

Sox, David. Unmasking the Forger: The Dossena Deception (New York: Universe Books, 1987) p. 153, note 36.

Haskell, Francis. "Charles I's Collection of Pictures," in The Late King's Goods: Collections, Possessions and Patronage of Charles I in the Light of the Commonwealth Sale Inventories, Arthur MacGregors, ed. (London and Oxford: 1989) pp. 216, 230, note 61, pl. 33 (color).

Jaffé, David, D. Allen, D. Carr, A. Faber Kolb, and E. Kleeman. "The Earl and Countess of Arundel: Renaissance Collectors." Apollo, vol. 144, no. 413. (August 1996) pp. 26-28, ill. p. 27, fig. 9.

MacGregor, Arthur. "King Charles I: A Renaissance Collector?" in The Seventeenth Century, Vol. XI, no. 2. (Autumn 1996) plate. 1, p. 143.

Haskell, Francis. L'Amateur d'Art. (Paris: 1997) pp. 185-86, fig. 79.

Robin Simon. "Leonardo and Holbein (?)". Apollo, Vol. CXLVI, #429. (1997) pp. 20-21.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 60, ill.

Szafran, Yvonne. "'Allegory of Horse and Rider': Holbein? A New Look at the Underdrawing." In La Peinture dans les Pays-Bas au 16e Siècle, Hélène Verougstraete and Roger van Schoute, eds. (Leuven: 1999) pp. 293-302, ill.

Foister, Susan. Holbein and England (New Haven, 2005) pp. 107-8, ill., fig. 115.

Foister, Susan, with contributions by Tim Batchelor. Holbein in England, exh. cat. (London: Tate, 2006) p. 61, no. 61, ill.

Foister, Susan. "Holbein, Antonio Toto, and the Market for Italian Painting in Early Tudor England." In The Anglo-Florentine Renaissance Art for the Early Tudors (New Haven: The Yale Center for British Art, with Yale University Press, 2012) pp. 288-90, fig. 111.

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