Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543), one of the most versatile and admired painters of the Northern Renaissance, trained under his father in Augsburg and then worked for leading patrons in Switzerland before settling in England as Court Painter to Henry VIII. To commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of the artist's birth, Oskar Bätschmann and Pascal Griener offer this richly illustrated book--the first comprehensive monograph on the artist to appear in more than forty years--which is a major advance in our understanding of Holbein's contribution to European art. The authors reexamine every aspect of a remarkable career, and further illuminate the artistic and cultural influences that affected the artist.
Holbein was a hugely ambitious artist, and even during his formative years in Lucerne and Basel, made designs for jewelry, stained glass, and woodcuts, and painted major altarpieces and portraits. He also carried out several monumental decorative schemes for private houses and civic buildings. In his commissions, Holbein sought to rival the greatest masters of Germany and Italy, most notably Dürer and Mantegna, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as Court Painter. However, Holbein soon found himself in a precarious situation as a result of the Reformation's increasing hostility toward religious works, and he left for England in 1532. While in England, in addition to decorative schemes and Triumphs, he both drew and painted numerous unrivaled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants, and diplomats, among which is his celebrated double portrait, The Ambassadors. This book offers both a remarkable range of extant visual evidence and a rewarding and scholarly account of Holbein's oeuvre in its full historical and artistic contexts.
"Like only a few other painters in history, Holbein made the human likeness seem to erase the distance between his time and ours.... This readable scholarly book not only situates Holbein carefully in his own time but teaches us how to read his paintings and prints in depth."--Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"Hans Holbein is a stimulating book with many new insights and suggestions."--Willibald Sauerländer, The New York Review
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