Hans Holbein German School

HANS HOLBEIN is known as "the younger" to distinguish him from his distinguished but less celebrated father. He was employed for a time in his father's workshop, and then left Augsburg for Basle, then the center of the humanist revival in literature and the home of many eminent scholars of the day. One of them, Erasmus, is said to have been an early patron of the young painter. Holbein remained in Basle almost continuously for twelve years. Then, having won recognition as a master in Switzerland and Germany, and provided with a letter of introduction from Erasmus to Sir Thomas More, he went to England. The introduction served him well, and Holbein soon had access to the leading members of the court. He was appointed court painter to Henry VIII. Of one service to that king our histories tell us. Sent by the monarch to paint a portrait of Princess Anne of Cleves, Holbein, Walpole tells us, "drew so favorable a likeness of the princess that Henry was content to wed her; but when he found her so inferior to her portrait the storm, which really should have been directed at his painter, burst on his minister; and Cromwell lost his head because Anne was a 'Flanders mare,' not a Venus, as Holbein represented her."

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