Charles de Solier was serving as French Ambassador at the time that this 1534-35 portrait by the German Hans Holbein the Younger was completed.
He traveled to London in the summer of 1534, and the German painter working in England Hans Holbein the Younger had a reputation as one of the great portraitists of the Northern Renaissance, which ensured that he would be the one to paint the Ambassador’s portrait.
Charles De Solier’s name is not painted on the panel, and over time it was forgotten who the subject of the painting was. It was sold in 1746 as a portrait of Ludovico Sforza, a 15th-century ruler of Milan, and attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. This painting is considered to be one of the great portraits in art history due to the extraordinary detail – one could almost mistake it for a photograph.
Hans Holbein the Younger’s Charles de Solier, Sieur de Morette can be found in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.