Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hans Holbein the Younger: Paintings

Hans Holbein left those of us who love English history a great gift in these images of Henry VIII and his court. When I imagine Henry, I see this painting, done around 1540.

I gave an account of Holbein's career in my post on his drawings, to which I refer the curious. Here is one of his earliest surviving portraits, of Boniface Amerbach, 1519.

Erasmus, c. 1526.

Sir Thomas More, c. 1527. Holbein arrived in England for the first time in 1526, with a letter of introduction from Erasmus to More, and More's was one of the first portraits he painted there.

Sir Henry Wyatt, c. 1527.

Back in Basel in the early 1530s, Holbein painted several portraits of members of the von Wedigh family, a clan of wealthy Swiss merchants. Now nobody is sure which von Wedigh is which, so they are usually titled "Member of the von Wedigh family." This is one of the Holbeins I had never seen until I started working on this post, and I love it. Magnificent.

Another of the same period, and one of Holbein's most famous: Nicholas Kratzer, 1528-1530. I have a great reproduction of this in an expensively printed art book, which I assume has the color more or less correct, and I have not been able to find anything online that comes close. So I fiddled with wikipedia's image a little to get it closer to the rich yellows and browns of the original. But it's still not right.

Back in England after 1532, Holbein painted his new patron, Thomas Cromwell. Not sure why he made his boss look so sinister; maybe Cromwell just really looked like this.

Simon George of Cornwall, 1535. About to break into a sonnet, I imagine.

Charles de Solier, Sieur de Morette, 1534. This might be my favorite of all Holbein's works.

Jane Seymour, 1537. In general Holbein's women are less successful than his men, although it's hard to know since most of his portraits of Henry's queens were destroyed. Out with the queen, out with all of her portraits, too.

This lady has been identified as half a dozen different people, from one of Jane Seymour's ladies in waiting to Cromwell's sister. So, a mystery.

And one of Holbein's last works, John Chambers, 1543.


karlG said...

Ummm, that's Thomas Cromwell -- aka Hilary Mantel's muse -- not Richard. Loved the Holbein drawings the other day, keep up the good work.

Bundle Brent said...

A man who was not afraid to paint your nose exactly the way it looked.