Friday, August 31, 2007

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543)

Sierra Club


Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543) was born in Augsburg, Bavaria. Like his father Hans Holbein the Elder and his brother Ambrosius Holbein, Hans was an artist who painted in the Northern Renaissance style. He first learned painting from his father, then went with his brother to Basel where he met many scholars, among them the Dutch humanist Erasmus. Erasmus asked him to illustrate his satires. Holbein also illustrated other books, including contributing to Martin Luther's translation of the Bible. Like his father, he designed stained-glas windows and painted portraits.

The Reformation made it difficult for Holbein to support himself as an artist in Basel and he set out for London. Erasmus furnished him with a letter of introduction addressed to the English statesman and author Sir Thomas More. Holbein painted many portraits at the court of Henry VIII. While there he designed state robes for the king. In later years he worked both in Basel and London. On one of his stays in London he painted German merchant Georg Giese at the Hanseatic League outpost in London, called the Steelyard (Stalhof). Holbein painted Anne of Cleves for Henry VIII during marriage negotiations - a common practice in the age before photography. Henry criticized the portrait as having been too flattering. While Holbein was working on another portrait of Henry, he died of plague. [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Hans Holbein the Younger.]


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