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Hans Holbein's "The French Ambassadors and the Secret Horoscope"

Aquarius Café

Saturday, March 15, 2014

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

US Bank Building, Community Room

131 N. El Camino Real (Ralph’s Shopping Center)

Encinitas, CA. 92024


$12. Non-members

Lecture: Hans Holbein's "The French Ambassadors and the Secret Horoscope"

Speaker: Douglas Barker

The year is 1533, King Henry VIII has England as well as the Continent in an uproar over his plans to take over the Church in England and divorce his very Catholic Spanish queen, Catherine of Aragon, who has been unable to provide him with a male heir. (He has already secretly married his latest mistress Anne Boleyn and Henry needs the divorce before her pregnancy shows.)

However, the pope has refused to grant an annulment. Jean de Dinteville, the French ambassador, walks a tightrope of diplomacy as he attempts to smooth relations between Henry and Francois I, the French King. Both England and France are threatened by the increasing power of Charles V, the Holy Roman emperor and king of Spain, but France is also closely allied with the Church in Rome. 

And the great German Renaissance master, Hans Holbein, residing in London, paints his most outstanding - and enigmatic - work, a double portrait of de Dinteville and his close friend Georges de Selve, the French envoy to the Vatican.

The still-life painting within a painting on the table between the two men is astounding in its accuracy and includes astronomical instruments that seem on close inspection to point to . . . what? 

To hear the rest of this fascinating story including the meaning of some of the mundane objects as well as the strange objects in the foreground of the painiting, and to find the horoscope concealed in the painting and what it reveals - you're just going to have to come to experience this slide-illustrated lecture.


Douglas Barker is an art historian who has taught well over a hundred courses at various colleges. He has also been a professional astrologer for over twenty-five years and has conducted several tours of art museums in Europe. Additionally Douglas always reveals in his lectures the esoteric meaning hidden in plain sight in many conventional art masterpieces. Be prepared to enjoy some outstanding examples of some Renaissance masterpieces!

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  • Kelly O.

    Fascinating talk, amazing to see all the astrological references in this masterpiece.

    March 17, 2014

  • Natori M.

    I have heard Douglas deliver this lecture at SDAS and it is wonderful! Highly recommended, especially for art or history lovers. I will be out of town for this one. Enjoy, everyone!

    February 4, 2014

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