- Holbein, Hans
- (the Elder, ca. 1460-1534; the Younger, 1497-1543)German painters, both natives of Augsburg. Little is known about the early life of Hans the Elder. His early work was in the late-medieval style prevalent in southern Germany and influenced by Rogier van der Weyden and other Netherlandish painters. By about 1500, his sequence of paintings of Christ's Passion for the church of Saints Ulrich and Afra at Augsburg showed signs of Italian Renaissance influence. His best known work, The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (1516), shows a simplification of design that also suggests Italian influence. He trained his sons Ambrosius and Hans as painters. Hans became the most successful member of the family.Hans the Younger studied with his father until 1516, when he moved to Basel as a journeyman employed by the local artist Hans Herbst. In 1519 he was received into the Basel guild of painters. He illustrated several books for the printer Johann Frohen, who recommended him to his leading author, Erasmus. Erasmus commissioned portraits of himself to be sent as gifts to friends and patrons, including William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury. In 1524 Holbein visited the French court, where he was exposed to the works of Leonardo da Vinci. He spent the years 1526-1528 in England, warmly recommended by Erasmus and employed by Thomas More and other English courtiers for portraits. His return to Basel in 1529 coincided with the political victory of Protestantism, and he felt torn between producing conventional Catholic religious paintings and producing woodcut illustrations for anti-Catholic tracts. His earlier trip to England may have been intended to test the market for his services there, and in 1532 he returned to London. A notable work of this period was The Ambassadors (1533), depicting two French ambassadors to England. From 1532 to 1538 Holbein was official painter to King Henry VIII, and his portrait of Henry himself (1536) is the most widely known image of the English monarch. He also designed title pages of books and jewelry for the court and was active as a portrait painter.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.