HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (detail)

Oil on oak
National Gallery, London

The unusual squirrel motif was not originally planned but was added during the painting of the portrait. This involved changing the position of the woman's arm. Likewise, the starling is painted over a blue background. Whereas the tame squirrel was included in the picture as a pet of the sitter, the precise significance of the starling is not known.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.