Artist Hans Holbein

"The German painter Hans Holbein was born in 1497 or 1498 and is celebrated now as one of the greatest of all portrait painters.He was born in Augsburg and learnt his craft via the teaching of his father, Hans Holbein the Elder. In round 1514 he moved to Basle, where he found employment as a designer for printers and began his work as a portraitist.Over time, he became a leading painter in Basle and was given the opportunity to paint the noted European scholar Erasmus. Erasmus provided him with an introduction in 1526 to Sir Thomas More, then a favourite of Henry VIII.Although he remained in England between 1526 and 1528 the visit was not particularly successful. He returned to England, however, in 1532, where he met Thomas Cromwell, the major power at Henry’s court for much of the 1530s, who may have obtained for him the commission for his famous painting, The Ambassadors, which now resides in the National Gallery.It was Thomas Cromwell who probably gained for Holbein his royal patronage and by 1536 he was working for Henry VIII himself. Henry really owes the magnificence of his physical reputation to the powerful portraits which Holbein produced of him and his court around this period. The king also sent Holbein abroad to paint prospective brides, including the disastrous portrait he produced of Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife, which depicted a woman more attractive than Henry subsequently found her to be.Holbein is undoubtedly the most important artist painting in Britain in the 16th century, and is probably the most significant royal portraitist of all time. He died in 1543."

 
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