Classic Artist of the Week #16 - Hans Holbein

If you read this rubric at least a few times, you know that we try writing about more modern artists from the late nineteenth or twentieth century. But it is not a rule, so I don't have to make an exception here (if it was, I'd still make an exception). Ladies and gentlemen - Hans Holbein the Younger. One of the most recognized Renaissance painters and the earliest professional designers. Undobtful master and a hipster of his times (unlike others, Holbein never founded a school). Would you agree that he deserves a place here?

Hans Holbein was born circa 1497 in Augsburg, the town that soon had to become a center of the Reformation - and the young artist had found himself right in the middle of the religious turmoils. He started to paint young - sketches from eleven-years-old Hans surpass most of the work I see daily from professional artists. Changing towns, masters and commissioners, Holbein eventually landed in England, from where came the most famous of his paintings. But however inspiring (and full of rich, vain people) was this country, the courtly intrigues made our German friend change his alliances fluently - after all, someone of importance was being decapitated nearly every two years. He managed to outlive most of them, dying from an infection aged 45.

Holbein was an original in many ways. His clear line and unbroken colours make the canvases both true to their subjects and aesthetically amazing. The precision of his brush is nearly indecent and that awe-inspiring ability to grasp the essence of his sitter... it's nearly expressionist, watching those figures and knowing everything about them. It's all written on their faces. The wisdom of Erasmus, calm of Anne of Cleves, authority of King Henry. And his designs? Simply perfect. See for yourselves.

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