...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday's Royal Trivia...

Hans Holbein The King's Painter was born in Augsburg, Germany in 1497. He is considered a Northern Renaissance artist. He spent his early career painting, religious murals and Nobel's portraits in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He was keen into the reformation and humanist studies. His religious paintings reflected his belief in the reformation with Christ being more realistic with dimension which was the coming art of the Renaissance. Holbein has been described as "the supreme representative of German Reformation art".[ His mentor and friend was humanist scholar, Erasmus of Rotterdam.

In 1526 Holbein came to England seeking work with a letter of recommendation from Erasmus. He was welcomed into the humanist circle by Sir Thomas More who later wrote to Erasmus telling him, his young painter was a fine artist. Holbein built up his reputation among the Clerics and Nobles until 1535 when he became the King's Painter for King Henry VIII. He not only painted several portraits for the Royal family, but designed plate and jewelery for them.

One of his most famous paintings is Anne of Cleves. When King Henry was scouting available women to marry after the death of Queen Jane he sent Holbein to Cleves to paint the Duke of Cleves two sisters, Anne and Amelia. Holbein did both of their portraits and brought them back to King Henry, from these portraits the King chose Anne to be his 5th wife. The interesting part is that Holbein concentrated more on Anne's dress, jewels and mantel than her face. King Henry ended up calling Anne his Flanders Mare. He wasn't impressed at all her with her beauty.

I love the quote used in the Tudor's season 3 episode when King Henry states that he
could take eight men and get eight Lords, but out of those eight Lords he couldn't get one Holbein.

Holbein had a very successful and memorable career as an artist. He died in 1543 at age 46.

Below are picture of some of his work.

Erasmus of Rotterdam

Sir Thomas More

King Henry VIII

Edward VI

Anne of Cleves

Thomas Wyatt

The Madonna


  1. I think his painting of Edward VI is cute. I haven't looked, but are there any other paintings of Anne of Cleves from around the same time? I'm just wondering how inaccurate his painting of her really was.

  2. This is the only portrait by Holbein. I have seen one other one and it doesn't compare. There is always speculation that Anne wasn't all that unfortunate looking she just found her bride groom rather distasteful which offended Henry very much. Of course Henry can never take the blame, so why not blame their lack of intimacy on Anne's appearance rather than his impudence.

  3. Very true, I heard that as well, thanks.

  4. He was an extremely talented artist. Beautiful!


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