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. Holbein was a hugely ambitious artist; during his formative years in Lucerne and Basle, he designed jewellery, 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 all his commissions, Holbein sought to rival the great masters of Germany and Italy – notably Dürer and Mantegna – as well as Antiquity, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as court painter. This, and the precarious situation he found himself in as a result of the Reformation’s increasing hostility towards religious works, drove him to England for good in 1532. There, in addition to decorative schemes and triumphs, he both drew and painted numerous unrivalled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants and diplomats, among them his celebrated double portrait ‘The Ambassadors’.
This acclaimed, richly illustrated book by Oskar Bätschmann and Pascal Griener – now available in a revised and expanded Second Edition – is a major advance in our understanding of one of the most admired painters of the Northern Renaissance. The authors re-examine every aspect of Holbein's remarkable career, in which they take full account of the artistic and cultural influences that affected the artist, such as his friendships with leading humanists Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, and cast fresh light on many hitherto vexing questions.
‘this publication sets the bar anew for the study of Holbein . . . Encased within the hard shell of this study are excellent formal and iconographical analyses and insights available nowhere else . . . this will remain the definitive work for some time. Essential.’ – Choice
Praise for the First Edition:
‘This readable and scholarly book . . . situates Holbein carefully in his own time.’ – Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
‘Hans Holbein . . . is a major contribution to the understanding of 16th-century humanist art.’ – Independent on Sunday
Oskar Bätschmann is a Professor at the University of Bern and author of Giovanni Bellini (Reaktion, 2007).
Pascal Griener is a Professor at the Institute of Art History, Neuchâtel.