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 Hans Younger Holbein  (1497 - 1543)

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About: Hans Younger Holbein
 

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: portrait painting, miniatures, book illustrator

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
PORTRAIT OF EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES, LATER KING EDWARD VI (1537-1553)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Hans Holbein (The Younger) was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1497 (or 1498) went to Basel, Switzerland in 1515 to work as an artist and had found plenty to do: Shop signs, book type, altarpieces, murals, goblets, stained glass and coats of arms. Holbein was fundamentally a craftsman who did his best work in England. When he left Basel for England, Holbein carried letters to possible patrons given him by his friend Erasmus, the writer.

Holbein came to England from Augsberg, Germany in 1526 and soon became court painter to Henry VIII. Among his tasks was that of painting the portraits of some of the many continental ladies whom Henry thought of marrying, and of whose appearance he wished to have some previous idea. According to legend, the English king agreed to marry Anne of Cleves solely on the evidence of the very flattering but not entirely accurate portrait. The oft-married Henry was sorely disappointed when his bride arrived, and he allegedly called her "a fat Flanders mare." Their marriage was dissolved after six months and Holbein never received another commission from the monarch.

Holbein was a genius and one who matured at a very early age. After he reached twenty or twenty-one, there was no dramatic development in his drawing technique, which made his drawings very hard to date. He was a man who never lacked self-confidence and his shrewd penetrating gaze was capable of both self-appraisal and capturing the character of his various sitters.

About 1543 Holbein learned the art of miniature painting from his friend Luc Horebout. His miniatures are painted in watercolor on paper, cardboard or vellum and are generally mounted as lockets or set in ivory or wooden boxes.


Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures;
"Arts of the Renaissance", Metropolitan Museum Of Art
"Miniatures: Hans Holbein the Younger
Moving Pictures by Ken Shulman in Art & Antiques Magazine, December 1997

A review of Holbein: "The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger" by John Rowlands in ARTnews, November 1986

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