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Home >> Artists >> Holbein


Hans Holbein was born in Augsburg,Bavaria, to a famous painter called Hans Holbein the Senior. He first learned painting from his father. Subsequently he went with his brother Ambrosius Holbein to Basel where he met many scholars, among them the Dutch humanist Erasmus.

His paintings stood out because of the careful attention to detail, and a certain indifference to conventional beauty. His wood panel paintings were indeed remarkable.

Holbein’s Style

Holbein’s early career is characterized by exquisite renditions of Madonna. However, when Henry VII gave Holbein the official title of Court Painter he realized quickly that he could no longer paint Madonnas, but the tasks of a Court Painter were exceedingly manifold. He designed jewelry and furniture, costumes for pageantries and decorations for halls, weapons and goblets. His main job, however, was to paint portraits of the royal household, and it is due to Holbein's unfailing eye that we still have such a vivid picture of the men and women of Henry VIII's period. At cursory viewing there is nothing dramatic in these portraits of Holbein, nothing remarkably eye-catching, but if we were to spend some more time with it and observe it closely, they slowly seem to reveal state of the sitter's mind and his/her personality.

Some critics feel that Holbein doesn’t give us a scope to doubt for even a moment that they are in fact faithful records of what Holbein saw, the fact that they were unflinching portraitures honest to every flaw of the sitter. The paintings seem to be aware of the magnitude of the honesty of the depiction. This “awareness” makes them wonderfully conscious study of a culture. othing seems left to chance; the whole composition is so perfectly balanced that it may easily seem 'obvious' to the accustomed- to- read- between-the- lines viewer, in us.

However there are other critics who feel that in spite of their richness of detail, Holbein's portraits provide remarkably little insight into the personality and character of the people he painted

Some of most loved works are as follows

  • Portrait of Sir Brian Tuke- Oil on Wood
  • The Virgin and Child with the family of Burgomaster Meyer-Oil On Wood
  • Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London-Oil on Wood
  • Portrait of Sir Richard Southwell- Oil on Wood
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